I'm Derek Stupski, the founder of Sales Independence, and I'm glad you're here!

I wanted to take a brief moment to introduce myself and share with you a little bit about who I am, how we got here, and what exactly "Sales Independence" (SI) is.

Before we get started, I just want to note - I ran multiple versions of this letter through ChatGPT and other AIs, and none of it sounded authentic or truly embodied the message I wanted to convey.

So, if you find it a little long or notice some grammatical errors, just know it was me hammering at my keyboard like a caveman. (Tim the Toolman Taylor grunts)

You can watch the video on this page if you prefer hearing me speak, or you can read what I decided to write. Or do both. Whatever makes you happy.

In short, I founded SI because of this beautiful blend of my love for entrepreneurship, consulting, and sales.

My biggest sense of fulfillment is being able to work with sales teams and businesses, implementing proven strategies, and watching their results explode.

...NOTHING gets me more pumped up!

Before we get into my story, let me just share this...

For the last 4 years I have mocked up document and spreadsheet after document and spreadsheet envisioning one day being able to have my own sales company...

Sometimes, it's not a matter of if. But a matter of when.

Let me share with you my story on how it all happened...

Quick Backstory

I'll keep this as precise as I possibly can.

Let's go in the time machine and take it back to 2008.

In the fall of 2008, I enrolled at Long Island University - Brooklyn on a baseball scholarship.

After four years of playing ball and earning my Bachelor's Degree in Exercise Physiology, I started working on the Upper East Side of New York City as a personal trainer.

I was getting a salary of just $30,000 a year, with no commissions or bonuses besides maybe a couple of bucks here or there or a pat on the back and an "atta-boy".

My schedule evolved to working 7 days a week, not by my desire, but because I was a 22-year-old, inexperienced kid who was just happy to have my first job.

So, I didn't say anything about it and worked 7 days a week, with no time off, no days off, no additional compensation or overtime, for months.

This was probably in clear violation of some labor laws, but that's neither here nor there at this point.

Why I am sharing this with you is because this experience kick-started the "I need something better" mindset. I realized this is not the path I wanted to live.

Gym Life

In February of 2013, I moved back home to Upstate New York, where I started doing baseball lessons and trying to pick up a couple of personal training clients—shoutout to my mom and aunts for being the first to take me on because they wanted to support me. I will be forever grateful.

It took less than 2 months before I made my first $3,000 in a month... and I was PUMPED.

"I did it! I am now making more money on my own than I was working for someone else!

Holy Sh*t - this is working!"

Then 2 more months went by... I was now making $4,500 to $5,000 per month, with only a couple hundred bucks a month in overhead.

Then a few more months went by, with referrals coming in on a weekly basis, and now we're looking at $5,000 to $6,500 per month.

As a kid who knew nothing about business, nothing about advertising, nothing about sales, but simply just loved being on his own... I was crushing it.

I had no kids at the time, and my wife and I were living in a beginner apartment, paying $700 a month in rent.

So, all that was left to do was buy some food, and the rest... was all profit.

So, what's a person supposed to do when they start seeing a five-figure balance in their bank account?...

If you guessed spend it... YOU. ARE. RIGHT.

Did I invest it into the business?... Some.

Did I buy some real stupid things?... Absolutely.

But, eventually, after I satisfied the bank's requirements to get approved, we threw all that money into our first house.

These adjustments enhance readability and clarity while preserving the original tone and excitement of the narrative.

So, let's fast-forward to 2015... It was time to upgrade the side hustle, which had become a functioning business.

I had another trainer working part-time for me, but the place I was working out of just wasn't going to cut it for growth.

So, I came across a 4,200 square foot old dance studio: wide open floors with mirrors everywhere, perfect for a gym.

I contacted the seller, and after a few back and forths between our realtors, we found out it had been sitting vacant for a couple of years, and the owner just wanted to get what she owed on it... $80k.

"Ma'am, you have yourself a deal," I said.

Now, although I still had to outfit the space, the structure was perfect.

Fast-forward to 2017: the business was doing well—not great, but well. I had two people working for me full-time, with the business hovering at $15-20k per month and so-so margins.

I'm proud of what I've achieved with no business education, experience, or training—literally by watching YouTube videos and hoping the advice from various gurus would work.

A friend of mine, whom I met at a fitness business mastermind, connected me with a guy named Alex Hormozi...You may have heard of him by now...

How I got connected with Alex

I was one of the first 80 or so people to work with Alex Hormozi at his first big company, Gym Launch. I know this because I remember joining their Facebook group after enrolling, and there were about 82 people in there.

So, it's possible I was even among the first 80 sign-ups. Regardless...

I paid $12,000 that I didn't have, thanks to credit cards, to enroll in Gym Launch in May of 2017.

We were taught how to write ad copy, set up our gym to be more inviting, sell, overcome objections, and fulfill services like no one else in the area.

I realized at that moment how fortunate I was to be where I was in business, as I knew very little.

By early June, we were set for our first rollout of the new marketing plan we just paid for.

First ad budget: $300.

I was nervous about spending $300.

Doubts crept into my mind. "'I'm charging $97 per month; there's no way someone will pay me $500 for just 6 weeks,' I thought."

Well, here we go. The ads went live.

At my first appointment, I followed the process exactly as it was laid out...

BAM: $500 paid in full on the spot.

HOLY SH*T... Did that just happen?

And then another... And then another... And another...


End of the campaign:

$300 in ad spend.

64 $500 sales.

Total revenue: $32,000 in cash, in just 3 weeks.

We were so overwhelmed we had to shut down the campaign because my business was breaking from TOO MANY CLIENTS.

Needless to say, it was a roaring success. After my initial 16-week, $12k investment, I re-signed to stay on long term.

Over the next 18 months, my business went from $12-15k per month (occasionally touching $20k) to consistently achieving $50-70k months, eventually surpassing the $1M annual run rate by reaching over $83,333.33 per month.

I did it... I transformed a hobby, a side hustle, into a business generating $1,000,000.00 in revenue. WOW.

Working for Alex

It was June of 2019 now...

Gym Launch was hiring Business Coaches to help serve their clients at the highest levels.

Business for them was BOOMING.

For me at the gym? I was completely removed from day-to-day operations, had a full-time staff, and was really just focused on the bigger picture of the business.

Life was good.

I caught wind of Gym Launch wanting to hire these business coaches.

So I thought, 'What the hell?' and decided to look into this.

Within a few weeks, I was hired and started the onboarding process as one of their coaches.

Now, I had a roster of gym owners from around the world relying on me to help them scale their businesses.

Within 90 days, the manager approached me and asked if I would take the lead of the coaching department, essentially overseeing the entire coaching staff and assuming a leadership position.

No-brainer. Obviously, I accepted.

In January of 2020, I exited my gym by selling it to one of my previous trainers who came back to take it over. I had lost my passion for the gym game.

Let's jump to March of 2020. There was something pretty impactful unfolding around the world at this time... don't know if you can recall what it was.

Gym Launch was being FLOODED with prospects wanting to work with us, as we had the answer to transition businesses online and survive this crazy time in history.

Alex approached me, with my success as a gym owner and now leading his coaching department, and asked if I would be interested in joining the sales team to help them with the volume they were getting...


I lived this life; I knew this product inside and out. This was gonna be EASY PEASY.



I was given a metaphorical smack upside the head, maybe closing 2 deals worth less than $10k in 2 weeks despite ample opportunities. I just straight-up SUCKED.

The Marketing & Sales Director pulled me aside at the time and said, "I cannot justify having you on the team with this performance. I'm giving you two weeks to turn it around before we have to explore different options"...


Now, it was go-time. I had to figure something out... fast.

Long story short, I turned it around.

3-4 months later, I was promoted to lead the Sales Team.

My growth as a business-minded person, marketer, salesperson, leader, and overall individual was explosive.

It was hockey-stick growth, just being consumed and surrounded by people who were way more successful than me forced me to be better.

Again, forever grateful.

Now, it's November of 2021.

Alex was on his way to exiting his majority share in Gym Launch and a few of his other companies. (Even though we didn't know it at the time, the following January is when the news became official. Alex and his wife Leila sold their shares in Gym Launch for $46.2M).

In that November of '21, I left Gym Launch, thinking I was ready to "take the next step" in my professional career...

Boy, was I wrong.

Jumping Ship and Helping a "Friend"

One of the people I worked with at Gym Launch had left their coaching position well before I did.

I decided to leave because he approached me with an offer to join his 'well-funded' media company that he was launching.

I was hired as his Sales Director, tasked with building out the nonexistent sales department, including systems, trainings, and acquisition strategies.

Getting paid felt like holding your breath. I would bring in over $30,000 in business and be due a $5,000 check (base + commission), always wondering if and how I would get paid.

To their credit, they never missed a payment in terms of amounts due, but the timing was always uncertain.

Out of respect for the situation and without going into too much detail, the company completely folded by January.

I had left a stable, salary + commission with benefits position to take on a project with someone I respected at the time.

And now, I found myself with nothing: a mortgage, two car payments (mine and my wife's), two children, and buried in debt... all without any income.

At a Loss & Scrambling

One thing you may learn about me is that I used to LOVE (and can still appreciate) sports memorabilia.

You name it - game-used equipment, autographed jerseys, hats, helmets, balls, bats, sticks - anything I could get my hands on, I was buying.

It was a guilty pleasure of mine, creating one hell of a man cave.

Well, with the company I left Gym Launch for collapsing on itself in a matter of weeks, I had no income.

As I scrambled to figure out what to do next, I still had bills to pay, a family to feed, and needed to be a steady hand during this internal crisis.

Well, here goes nothing.

I opened up eBay and started listing a lot of sports memorabilia:

$250 here

$2,000 there

$375 here

$800 there...

It helped. But it wasn't sustainable.

I was going to run out of "inventory" at some point.

Financially, I was dead broke. My wife started doing Instacart runs just to keep the lights on.

Out went the family couch for $300, just to buy groceries.

I never in a million years thought I would be here.

Multi-million dollar business owner, six-figure earner with Gym Launch, mentored by Alex Hormozi... broke.

Selling personal and prideful belongings just so I wouldn't have to tell my kids they'd have to go without. I was not only broke, money-wise. I was broken. No purpose, no sense of direction.

I was scrambling.

I reached out to a few clients I had worked with at Gym Launch, ones who had also stopped working with GL, to strike up a conversation.

Luckily for me, I was able to sell them on the idea of working with me, not through the lens of GL.

That was good enough to buy me some time and generate a little bit of income to ease the day-to-day burdens, but it didn't solve the problem.

A shoutout to the team at Strength Collective in Galesburg, Illinois.

They were the first to say yes to working with me. More than two years later, we're still collaborating, and they're crushing it!

You didn't know it at the time, but you saved me. I am forever grateful.

Back to a W-2

So, we started bringing in some money through gym consulting.

I knew it wasn't sustainable.

It wasn't the business I wanted to build. Did I enjoy it? Yes, because it was familiar, and I was blessed to work with great people.

But every day, several times a day, I was on Indeed and LinkedIn, blasting out applications and my resume.

I was searching for something stable, something I hadn't felt in about six months.

Then it happened: a reply, a response! Someone wanted to work with me— incredible!

And it was in the very space I knew best at that time: gyms.

In April of 2022, I accepted their offer to become the Sales Director—generous base salary, commissions, and benefits included.

Ahh... a deep breath and a profound sense of relief.

And, as with all new opportunities, I was happy and ready to dive in. We were off to the races, and I finally felt a renewed sense of purpose.

Accidental Business

I got a phone call one day from one of my good friends I used to work with at Gym Launch. He had started his own marketing agency and was doing very well for himself.

He called me and said, "Hey, so I got this client that I'm crushing it for, but they're not making any sales. Is this something you'd be willing to help me figure out what's missing?"

Wanting to help out a friend, I said, "Sure!"

Instead of delving directly into their systems and team, we decided to employ a 'Secret Shopper' strategy.

This would allow me to experience the process as a prospect, without the sales team knowing who I was or my purpose, avoiding any special treatment. I opted in and meticulously documented every step of the process, from the opt-in to scheduling, the nurture texts and emails, their conduct on calls, and post-call follow-up—I documented every single detail.

I compiled a detailed report of my experiences, complete with grades and comments. For areas needing improvement, I provided specific solutions. After implementing my suggestions, their show rates jumped over 100%.

I never thought much beyond that moment. I never got paid, nor did I ask to be paid. It was fun and interesting for me, and I was happy to help a friend.

A few months later, the same friend called again, with a different client having a similar issue.

This time, when presenting my findings and solutions, the CEO asked, "How much for you to come in and fix these for us and train our team on it?"

Caught off guard, I replied, "Ummm... what?" I wasn't expecting that and had to think on my feet.

I followed up with them the next day, balancing my fear with the desire not to undervalue my services. "I'm gonna need $15,000 for 60 days of my time," I told them.

To my surprise, they immediately agreed, asking me to send over an invoice for upfront payment.

And that’s how I landed my first client, accidentally kickstarting the path to what I’m doing today.

Pushed Off a Cliff

So, I got this side business that I'm now (still to my surprise) getting paid $15k for 60 days of work to do what I love to do...

And so it's got me toying with the idea of..."If I could get another 1 or 2 clients like this, I could leave my W2 position"

Now, I am a man of faith. Call it God, call it "The Universe", call it whatever you want.

All I asked for was clarity on doors that should be opened and doors that should be closed.

Not only did doors get closed - they got slammed right in my face.

That W2 job? I got fired because I got into multiple disagreements with ownership over the direction of how sales should be done

I thought "if you hired me to run the sales department, shouldn't you let me do my job?" ... That didn't land very well. Lesson learned.

The following month I collected of $35,000 in revenue from being out on my own and launching the fractional sales management and consulting business.

F'em. Didn't need them anyways. Success is always the best revenge.

What's funny is when someone hires you as an "outsider" to the company - like an FSM or Consultant, they're pretty open to hearing what you have to say and implementing what they're paying you for.

Whereas with a salaried position in a company, egos clash and micromanagement happens.

To me, the answer is simple.

Entrepreneurship > Employment

Better than I always dreamed of...

Now that this Fractional Sales Management (FSM) and Consulting train has left the station I can say it's better than I ever imagined.

So, I created Sales Independence to help those who feel trapped to escape.

Welcome Home.

Let's create financial INDEPENDENCE while building something you're proud of.

Create time INDEPENDENCE to do more of what you love with who you love.

Create INDEPENDENCE and love what you do - multiple sales teams, multiple sales reps, multiple offers

If any of this resonates with you, book a call. Let's have a chat

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