Donald C. Kelly is the Sales Evangelist helping employees become entrepreneurs in the field of sales.

The Sales Evangelist from Employee to Entrepreneur – BtR 324

The Sales Evangelist, Donald C. Kelly, talks about making the switch from employee to entrepreneur helping others succeed in the field of sales.

Donald C. Kelly is the Sales Evangelist helping employees become entrepreneurs in the field of sales.

The Sales Evangelist

The best advice Donald can give to people who want to get out of a rut is to try something new. 

In the sales arena, the biggest competitor most people have is not the person marketing against them, it’s the status quo of their clients. Clients may feel like they’ve always done things a certain way and they’re comfortable with that, but it’s important for us as salespeople to help them understand that by taking a risk and trying something new, they could see much greater success. The goal is to minimize the risk as much as possible so that our clients are more likely to take that leap.

Donald C. Kelly, also known as “The Sales Evangelist,” is a great example of someone who took a risk and succeeded. Kelly went from being an employee to an entrepreneur, and now he hosts a popular podcast where he shares his sales wisdom with others. If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, I encourage you to listen to Kelly’s podcast and learn from someone who has been there and knows what it takes to succeed.

By taking a risk and trying something new, you could see much greater success in your sales career. Donald C. Kelly is a great example of someone who took a risk and succeeded. As the Sales Evangelist, he now shares his sales wisdom with others through his popular podcast. If you’re feeling stuck, take some time to listen to Kelly’s advice and learn from one of the best in the business. You might just find the motivation you need to get out of your rut and achieve success.

From left to right, Randy Wilburn (Encourage Build Grow), Donald C. Kellly (The Sales Evangelist), and Shannon Cason lead a panel discussion on "Owning Your Message and Telling the World Through Podcasting" at Podcast Movement 2022.
From left to right, Randy Wilburn (Encourage Build Grow), Donald C. Kellly (The Sales Evangelist), and Shannon Cason lead a panel discussion on “Owning Your Message and Telling the World Through Podcasting” at Podcast Movement 2022.

In This Episode

  • The excitement of Podcast Movement 2022
  • Talking about podcast gear for a moment since we’re at a podcasting conference
  • What is The Sales Evangelist podcast
  • Going from employee to entrepreneur
  • The importance of pushing the status quo for yourself and your clients

Donald C. Kelly

Donald’s mission is to evangelize the method of effective selling and motivate sellers of all levels to DO BIG THINGS!

As a former top-performing technology sales professional, who has successfully sold in both the public and private sectors, Donald was able to crack the code of helping teams thrive in b2b sales. He is also the author of Sell It Like A Mango – A New Sellers Guide To Closing More Deals.

He has helped sellers from companies all over the world build confidence in their selling abilities and increase revenue as a result. Organizations such as Rock Venture (Quicken Loans), HairClub, VMWare, Consolidated Electrical Distributors LLC. (CEB), Salt Edge, Charter Spectrum, Hibu/The Real Yellow Pages, Yotpo, Citi Group, and New York Life.

Along with helping for-profit organizations, Donald has also assisted non-profit firms such as Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council, The Eastern Minority Supplier Development Council, GEAR UP, and Cal Poly University.

In addition to training sales professionals in workshops, online courses, keynote presentations, and students as an adjunct professor at Brigham Young University-Idaho, Donald is the host of a popular sales podcast called “The Sales Evangelist.” With listeners in over 155 countries and over 3.7 Million+ all-time downloads, the podcast has received recognition from publications such as Entrepreneur Magazine, Success Magazine, Inc Magazine, Forbes, HubSpot, The Huffington Post, and the South Florida Business Journal.

The Sales Evangelist from Employee to Entrepreneur BeyondTheRut.com324

Resources and Links

You can learn more about The Sales Evangelist at There you’ll find information on how to leverage Donald’s services for your success, listen to his podcast “The Sales Evangelist” and more.

Related Past Episodes of Beyond the Rut

Jim Sheils Shares How to Succeed as an Entrepreneur at Home – BtR 156

How Ken Carfagno Left His Dream Job to Start a Cleaning Business – BtR 299

The Plateau: Why You Need to Change Things Up to Keep Making Progress – BtR 018

Read: Is It Time To Change Jobs, Careers, Or Bloom Where Planted?

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Episode Credits

Host, Editing, and Production: Jerry Dugan


Donald C. Kelly  00:00

things that are I want to do something, but I’m just so afraid or I’m challenged. Just try just test, test things out, break the status quo, the biggest and quickest way to break the status quo is to test and try things. And the more you try things, and the more you mess up, and the more you test, you figure things out.

Jerry Dugan  00:15

Hey, Rutter Nation, welcome to another episode of beyond the rut, the podcast that shares encouraging stories and practical tools to help pull you out of your rut and into a life worth living. I’m your host, Jerry Dugan, and you just heard from Donald C. Kelly, we were on site at Podcast Movement 2022, in Dallas, Texas. And we had a chance to sit down and have a conversation about his transition from being an employee to being the sales evangelist. So being a creative entrepreneur, pushing himself out of his comfort zone, and helping other people do the same today. So that’s what we’re talking about that transition from being an employee, to being your own boss, and what does it take to get there? How do you help others as you go into business for yourself? So sit back and relax or keep doing your chores, or whatever it is you got going on right now, as Donald and I have this conversation on the expo floor at Podcast Movement while they’re still setting up. So you’re going to hear some background noise all throughout this interview, but it’s going to be cool. And here we go. All right. Hey, Donald. Thanks for taking some time to meet with me here at Podcast Movement. 22. How are you?

Donald C. Kelly  01:26

I’m good, man. I’m excited to be here. And just your setup is amazing. And it sounds awesome. And you’re doing amazing stuff with the content as well. And so I’m grateful that you elected to have me be a part of it.

Jerry Dugan  01:39

Oh, yeah. My pleasure. And you know, shout out to my wife because she had to endure years of me talking about piece of equipment. Let’s talk budget, babe. Why is it? You think I need to buy this? And she’s like, why do you need to buy it? I’m like, because I want to put it in a backpack and go to Podcast Movement. She’s like, you haven’t even been to one yet. And she didn’t say like that. Yeah. So she has endured years, if not months of me, you know, pining over this equipment. And now that I have it, she’s like, now go use it. I’m like, okay, yeah,

Donald C. Kelly  02:09

it’s like, perfect. I love it. You know, when you look at some of the, like, the big radio stations and equipment that I have, I’m always just like, hey, that’s not too. It’s kind of like what we have, you know, it’s like, so we don’t we’re on a good track. So yeah, great track. You have a zoom. So

Jerry Dugan  02:23

Exactly. Yeah. The pod track before. very portable, this thing actually replaced three or four pieces of equipment for me. Yeah, the headphone amplifier, digital recorder interface. I think and I think that’s it,

Donald C. Kelly  02:37

because you can use it at home at your as your switch. I have a zoom. And most people are like, what are we talking about this?

Jerry Dugan  02:45

We’re at Podcast Movement!

Donald C. Kelly  02:47

A, what is it? The little red box? Oh, my goodness. Now?




Focusright! Yeah, focus, right. And I have the two prongs that can go in and you have four here. I think on the back. I actually got those two prongs. Yeah. And I almost replaced that. Yeah, cuz it’s portable. I can take it places that I do when I travel when I don’t need it because I have the use of the shorter USB mic. But that would be perfect to travel with, because that’s your mixer. And you could use it at home in your studio, because that’s your mixer.

Jerry Dugan  03:20

Exactly. And it’s kind of like presets. So if I have like audio tracks on the SD card that’s inside here. Yeah, I can hit a button and have this little volume and do like my theme music. If I did my intro. Oh, yeah. So I’ve never used it because I never know what I’m going to talk about in my episodes until it’s done. Kind of the, I guess the aftermath, if you find the Holy Spirit into the show. God’s like, hey, that’s cute plan Jerry, but you and your guests are gonna go this is where we’re gonna talk about. And it’s like, Well, why do we talk about that? And then the listeners start emailing and texting. I’m like, oh, that’s why and, and funny thing is like, this may air months later. Yeah. And the person listening to it in the moment is like, I really needed to hear that today, you have no idea. I’m like, You have no idea how long it took me to get this thing published. It’s like, I had so many other things in front of it. And so that just blows my mind. And so

Donald C. Kelly  04:10

I feel like there’s so often we haven’t done some situation will probably jump into this as well. But you know, the we have our plans and things that we want to do. And we just finished up studying job and scriptures. And you know, like, you know, Joe wasn’t doing anything wrong doing everything right. And you know, things happen. And that’s just the way it is sometimes Yeah, but then you see the reasons behind it. And the Lord was able to multiply his blessing. So yeah,

Jerry Dugan  04:33

and I think the the big moral of the story on that job is always he stayed true to his values, what he believed in who he believed in and he had people in high places telling him like God did nothing for you. You have you owe him nothing. And he’s like, I’m nothing to guide you know, this is I I’m just going to enter this. Amen. Oh, God, it was like all right. Hey, take and get out of here. He proved me wrong. Restore. Yeah, and I’m going to add Have that you earned it? Yeah. So it’s Yeah, life can be like that for people that, you know, they’re, they’re great people great character. And then you look at the life they’ve endured, and it’s like, wow, you know, nobody should have to go through that you’ve got the biggest smile on your face, or you’re the most inspirational person to others. And that always amazes me about people. And so yeah, it’s just been a great ride. And when you put in the context of Jesus, it’s like, wow, and and just, you know, Jesus, and God worked on that guy, 30 years ago, and I’m running into him right now. Because I needed somebody to help me in this thing, whatever that thing is. Yeah. And if it weren’t for that guy going through what he did over the last 30 years, he would not have been equipped to help me in this moment. And amen. When you see that kind of context come together. It’s just like, how could you not say that there’s somebody out there? And you know, he’s got a plan, and he gives us the free will to follow it or not? And yeah, we can’t screw up his plan. No. Gosh, okay. So now, I know, you’ve got a show called the sales evangelist. And you’ve got another one that I’ve been listening to, called changing. And then you’ve got other shows out there. And so tell us, what is it? Tell us about sales evangelist first, because that’s the big one that I have known you for for a while, and then talk about the other ones real quick?

Donald C. Kelly  06:19

Yeah. So the funny thing with podcasters is like you become, it’s kind of like, you start collecting stuff after a while, right? Like, people collect toy cars or stuff. You just microphone, microphone, everything. So sales evangelists was my hobby podcast that I was doing as a sales rep. And it was an opportunity for me to give back and share and all that fun stuff. The podcast grew and then we started have people asking if they can do coaching with me or training and then that led to opportunities and two years later, 2015 it was the right place right time go back to the Lord, right. Where I had the company I was working for, they did some things that I wouldn’t do with my money. I thought I was getting a lot more money, which I should have from a commission and they wanted to do other plans with the way they structured the deals. And I realized if I kept doing this for them, I was gonna not I could do it on my own. So essentially, I left my full time software day job and my wife and I, we it was very thoughtful, prayed about it. And we did some things we knew we brought on debt and things were in the right place. Right time. We didn’t have our little guy yet. And it just makes sense. So I jumped ship and sales evangelist just kind of grew. So what started happening was people who saw that they started to ask, Can you help me with the podcast and I was like, That’s not our company. We’re a sales training organization. I can coach you I can train you. And I would just give out my free advice for that. And then you know, the good old Dark Knight eat leisure to Joker said if you do how to do something, well, you don’t do it for free. He’s one of our clients he asked and kept wasn’t been a client yet we’re partnering on a deal. So I said alright, I’ll help you guys I’ve asked my team and I said yes, we can we have a room. So we started producing their show. And then later on Better Home and Garden. Berkshire Hathaway came and then after Berkshire Hathaway Better Home and Garden came and all this ties back because then the that’s where the other shows start to come. And and as you hear the drilling going on, so often,

Jerry Dugan  08:19

like assembling the, for tomorrow,

Donald C. Kelly  08:24

then this our sales, the in 2021, or the before that, though, my brother started working with me, my sales company and my friend, and they’re, you know, and, and I just always recognize the people that I do training with didn’t look like me, and I was like that needs, I can probably help more people to be able to give that skill, give it back to my family. Yeah, so I had him started working with me, and I was like, Man, I should consider this idea. And then later on, it made more sense in 2020 when there’s so many people you started disparity with people looking into their, their, you know, they’re the their culture and organization. And one of the things we saw was that 20% of sales professionals were people of color. And I’m like, What am I doing to change that? Because sales has been good to me. How can I give that back and help somebody else in our, in our family, like, you know, people think about salespeople, they don’t think about like, professional, they think about somebody to knock in doors or, you know, maybe like multi level marketing, not like a car, car salesperson or sales, tech sales, like they can make more money than a doctor. And I know people were making more money than doctors and tech sales. So the that was like I can relate that message and that education to them. So selling in color became the podcast inspired people of color to jump into sales and hear stories about that. Yeah. Then with our church, I had a responsibility to kind of oversee the missionary side of sharing the gospel. And I was like, you know, we can share a podcast about like, you know, you’re not trying to preach to people, but let’s just get people who are changing. Everybody’s changing, drawn closer to Christ. So I pitched the idea they love that. So we started this podcast called Changing were interviewed Christians and to share their story of how they’re changing if we can help one person and whether somebody get back on fold or somebody who’s new to Christianity to learn about Christ. Success. That’s all it is. Yeah. And so it hosts that one. And then I started working on the final one with this client. So the big client came, and they came in, they asked if we want to help them with the podcasts, and we started doing the show for them and CO hosting and I started helping out the CO hosting and it worked out that a better for me to do the hosting myself now and that one is B SP better. It’s by Better Homes and Gardens. Real Estate.

Jerry Dugan  10:27

Yeah, that’s the one I did a double take on. That’s a better homes and garden. Yeah. STORY BEHIND I was gonna ask you at some point. And so that’s, that’s really cool now. So your career had started off doing tech sales. I went to tech sales. Yeah. And then the commission socked and then commission was great.

Donald C. Kelly  10:42

It was just a company. The people don’t leave companies, they leave managers, right. So the management did some things I had attend, essentially had about 10 grand coming into me for a deal does work in a year and a half to work on. Yeah, and with the school district and school district give you the money all at the same time, because that’s how they get their budget. Yeah, our company CEO wanted to change the process to like a SaaS model. So he started saying, why don’t you do pay a subscription? Because he’s trying to evaluate the company for sale? Yeah. So I said, Alright, instead of you give us $250,000, or whatever it was, just give us like, you know, pay like 20 grand a year over five years, or 25,000. So do the investors look good, you have these merchants who will come in, but for me, I was gonna get like, probably two grand, maybe a year for five years. And I was like, I’m gonna hold up for that long. And then I there were some other some things that did change. And I was like, you know, I can do things on my own. And and that’s when I just pushed me across the edge to jump ship. And I did. Yeah, at that time. And it was the right thing for us.

Jerry Dugan  11:38

Nice. Nice. And so today, do you have like a day job? Or is it almost CFCC?

Donald C. Kelly  11:43

So the podcasting is TSE Studios is our creative side, the main big money comes from the sales of Angeles. So we do training for teams, on b2b sellers. We go in and we have training programs, we do coaching, we do workshops, and that sort of Beretta big money class. And then TSE studios, we have, we produce we’re going up to our goal is to get to 15 shows by the end of the year. And I think we’re at 12 shows right now that we were producing all together, including our own and outside shows. And it’s just a creative side of our business. And then eventually, our goal is to break off TSE studios as its standalone company, entity LLC, and in the sales evangelists, the sales training side. So altogether, we have about 14 people on our team full time and also contractors with it. So podcasting is great. And the Lord’s been blessing us. So then.

Jerry Dugan  12:34

So you hear that Brandon, you wanted to do with beyond the rut? Kelly’s been doing? Donald’s been doing that with his show. So get back here. So Brandon was the founding guy, I’ll be on the right. He didn’t get up last year, because one thing he didn’t have when we started the show was grandchildren. Yeah. And so that being a pastor, he just, it’s where he is in life. So I pick on him all the time. Things that we set out to do seven years ago, yeah. And now they’re starting to click, and it’s like, oh, man, but I celebrate with them all the time. I keep looking at him like he’s watching. Right? You’ll at least be listening to while he’s running in the morning. So that is an essence though. Something I’d heard was, you know, you share information. You sell the instructions. And it’s kind of like Heath Ledger’s Joker, say, if you’re good at something, you don’t do it for free. Yeah. And so you’re doing just that, like you’re sharing the information through your shows. And then of course, people want to know how like, yes, step by step, show me how walk me through it. Let me practice, give me feedback. Coach me on this. And that’s where the business side comes into play. And that is such a great thing for people to do, especially if they’re done just clocking in and clocking out every single day. And yeah, and I think the pandemic has forced or forced a lot of people to think about that, you know, yeah. And it’s like, Hey, I had some freedom working from home, I had some flexibility with my schedule, I had not just one income, I had multiple streams of income, because, you know, like, right now, if you have a job, you make your one client mad, which is your boss, yeah, you have no income. Whereas if you have your own business, and you have systems in place, each customer is a stream of income.

Donald C. Kelly  14:21

I didn’t think about it like yeah, so so. So real smart on that Dr. Jerry, and I think you’re, you’re 100% Right. And and as I think of it in that sense, was like, How can I add more streams of incomes and it’s a bigger client. So yeah, I like it.

Jerry Dugan  14:35

More salespeople and coaches to do all that and just a grows from there. And, you know, this is the guy who’s like years behind doing that part of the platform, but it’s in the horizon and

Donald C. Kelly  14:48

shoot as you go with it, like the beautiful part to that too, is that you’re finding that the audience tells you what they want, yeah, over time, and that’s when you can generate that’s how we didn’t create a podcast production. In studio, the client asked us and then as a consequence, we needed to create a podcast studio. Yes. And,

Jerry Dugan  15:07

you know, that’s, yeah, for the longest time we thought we just had to share cool stories. And then you know, people were like, well, we’re looking for that. It’s one of our I told you one of the top episodes was with the guy who founded Christian podcasters Association. Well, the topic was networking. The power of networking, the benefits of networking, how do you network cannot be a sleazeball. So building relationships and so on. And then from there, the second highest episode on beyond the roads history is with a friend of ours. Katie Bram, back in Corpus Christi, who started a Mother’s Day Out program my kids are now I get multiple emails every month. How do I start a mother’s day out in my hometown? Wow, in Texas at this church like I don’t know. So then I just out for the email over to Katie brown like Katie, this is your department. Look what you got me into your hitting my website more than any other thing? And then journaling? I think is Yeah, then it’s a blog post I wrote not even an episode. But men want to know how to journal Yeah. And how to get their feelings out. What do I write about? And is it manly to journal? And so this, this article goes into like, there are some tough dudes who kept a journal that you may not know, General Patton, you know, Theodore Roosevelt and many others. And it’s like, Well, these guys journaled, and I can turn off because I’m tougher than these guys. So that it made me realize I need to get more people on, you’re talking about journaling. Yeah. So John Lee Dumas agreed in September to record I know, I’m like, I was, I was nervous. I was emailing on the form. Yeah. Anyway, he said, Yes. 15 minutes, we’re gonna talk about journaling. And I’m like, there we go. Because I know my audience also listens to his show, because they tell me, Hey, you’re listening to John Lee Dumas like, Yes, I listen, I know. I see him present every year. And so anyway, it’s now before we wrap up, because you gotta get to session and people gonna be waiting on everyone’s Donald. Are there any final words of wisdom you want to share with folks before we head out? Yeah.

Donald C. Kelly  17:12

And I think there’s just go back to this notion of like, I’m going to push it to the the, the very first question you typically asked is, What is the right you help people get out of? Yeah, so go back to this idea. I find that many of us are in our own different ruts, whether that’s like a spiritual side, or it’s an educational side, or, you know, temporal or in our professional side. And the big advice that I would give to people is that in order to get out of your rut is to try things. Yes, in the sales arena, the biggest competitor that most people have is not even the one who is marketing against them. It’s the status quo of the clients. And the clients may feel like this is the way we’ve done it, this is the way that I’m going to continue to do it. And we have to help them to understand how they can get out of that the thing that we try to get them to do is to take a risk and a risk. And the goal is for us to minimize the risk as much as possible, by giving them an opportunity to try something. So let’s say it’s my service of sales training, tries for one, let’s do a free thing, or give us one of your team members and test us out. If that team member does well, then let’s bring the rest of your team in. But you got to try and test so you got to get outside of it. So go back to yourself as an individual, you’re probably thinking, you know, I want to do a business or I want to improve my life. I want to journal I want to be a better, you know, better disciple, I want to do things that are I want to do something, but I’m just so fried or I’m challenged, just try just test, test things out, break the status quo, the biggest and quickest way to break the status status quo is to test and try things. And the more you try things, and the more you mess up, and the more you test, you figure things out, we started doing stuff that weren’t a fit. So we stopped doing it. I didn’t know if I was a speaker. Or if I was an s why you probably you know me form from Podcast Movement. When I was doing the GRE is a friend of mine. And he got me involved in and I was doing Toastmasters and I went to the World Championship and I speak a lot and I like to speak but I also love sales. And I didn’t know what was what I was going to do. And I had a conflict Jerry at one point, like Am I a speaker, I admire this. And I tried to do both of them. And I knew that I was the one that I knew that was gonna win that I needed to do that it was the business side. I really liked that more. And I do speaking right now, and I go training, and it’s fun. But I had to try and to figure out that I wasn’t a speaker business, and that I was a sales training organization. And because I did it I know and now we can improve and we pivot and we learn and yeah, the point is just try stuff and don’t let the status quo hold you back from your dreams.

Jerry Dugan  19:41

That’s my eyes. Now if people want to find you get more wherever you go.

Donald C. Kelly  19:44

So I’m always on LinkedIn. You can find me there Donald C. Kelly, I’m also on Instagram, Donald C. Kelly, and Twitter Donald C. Kelly is the trend right? And if you’re interested in sales, you can also go to the sales and just check out our free sales training programs. Now that we have, we give out ton of free content. And if it makes sense, you want to get help, then we can work together.

Jerry Dugan  20:06

Nice, Donald, thanks for being on the show. Hey, thank you see the rest of the week, man, of course,

Donald C. Kelly  20:10

I appreciate you. And now also just give a big shout out. podcasters do this, but they don’t want to always be the one doing it. But I’m just telling you, this podcast is amazing. And I know you’re listening to it, and you’re enjoying it. I’m looking in the camera right now. And I just asked you, just from the bottom of my heart, and pretend I’m speaking to you, as Jerry just tells one of the person about it, who could benefit from it. Even if it’s not this episode, just one of these episodes, just share it with somebody today. And I promise you, you will help make the world for them and for Jerry. So thanks again. Appreciate you having me. Thank

Jerry Dugan  20:38

you, Donald. Awesome. Now, if you enjoyed everything you heard in this episode, pay us forward, hit the share button on however you’re listening to this show right now and share it with a friend, a family member, a co worker or that neighbor across the street. Now you can also check out the show notes at beyond the to four. There you’ll find links to Donald’s website, his podcasts, and other episodes of beyond the rut similar to this one. Now, chances are you’re thinking Man, I sure would love to set my goals and set my sights on starting my own business. And if you haven’t had a chance to write down your goals, and cast a vision for your life going into the future, then I invite you to going to beyond the There I’ve got a special treat for you. It’s a free download called measure it to make it it’ll walk you through identifying what your core values are. What’s your vision for your life? And what are the next goals that you want to accomplish in the next five to 10 years. And then it helps walk you back to your annual goals and milestones and so on. It’s free. Just go to beyond the and check that out. So I’m glad you’re joining me this week, and I look forward to joining you again next week. But until next time, go live life beyond the rut. Take care