Michael D' Adamo
Founder & CEO
At a time when many questioned the reality of the American dream, Michael D’Adamo, the Founder and C.E.O. of T.O.P. Marketing Group, embodied it. The self-made multi-millionaire came up the hard way in the rough and tumble housing projects of East New York, Brooklyn. He began his business in December of 1996, when he was only 18 years old. Just two years later, he formed his first corporation and, at 22, he made his first million dollars. In recent years, D’Adamo has added a number of businesses to his portfolio with the specific goal of giving back to the larger community.
According to D’Adamo, “This is just the beginning. I really want people to look at me and think, 'If he can do it, I can do it too,'" he says.
D’Adamo, a marketing expert and business coach, is a co-author of Pushing To The Front: Front Line Strategies From The World’s Leading Experts with Brian Tracy and other business leaders who offer strategies that assist people in adapting to thrive in the new economy. Released in Oct. 2011, the book immediately reached best-seller status in three separate Amazon.com categories. D’Adamo is currently beginning a new series of books and CDs that will make his coaching available to aspiring entrepreneurs who can’t attend his sessions.
D’Adamo has built T.O.P. into one of the nation’s leading direct marketing networks serving the cutting edge of Fortune 500 companies as well as small and mid-sized business ventures seeking to expand market shares. Turnkey sales solutions produce results that exceed client expectations. The company brings customers the best of the best — from the products created by the deregulation of energy, telecommunications and fiber-optics markets to the jazzy, high-tech marvels that define life on the cutting edge.
D’Adamo recently founded Zenga Advertising to market social and mobile media products and services.
He currently leads a network of more than seventy offices around the nation that have a marketing presence in over twenty states. This number is projected to double by 2012. He attributes his long-term success to his passion for mentoring others. Yet, Mike D, as he is known to friends and associates, wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
“I was a lost soul,” he says. “My brothers and I grew up in a home filled with negativity, substance abuse and violence. We were just little kids when our father routinely beat our mother. By the age of fourteen, I was on my own. I dropped out of school after junior high and for nearly four years I mostly hung out. It’s not that I didn’t work but I had no direction. For a while, I was a milkman’s helper. We started at 4am and didn’t stop until around 8pm. I made six to seven hundred weekly but I wasn’t learning anything. There was no future in it.”
“One desperate day, I answered an ad for warehouse work,” Mike says. “When I got there, I ended up selling merchandise on consignment. It was my first encounter with people who had a truly positive attitude. They were interested in knowing who I was and what my dreams were. I saw an opportunity that could change my life. I just had to be willing to work hard. I mean really hard. I often say that I had a PHD: I was Poor, Hungry and Determined.”
D’Adamo describes his first direct marketing experience enthusiastically. He explains that for the first time in his life, he found mentors who offered him the chance to really look at himself and figure out who he wanted to become.
During the historically cold winter and Nor’easter of 1997, Mike began pulling a cart from business to business working six days a week, thirteen to fifteen hours a day. His products ranged from household goods and novelty items to children’s books. He rarely ended his day before his cart was sold out.
“I pulled that cart with a purpose,” he says. “I was determined to be number one in sales every day. I learned that it was all about something we call PMA — Positive Mental Attitude. In fact, this business is ninety-nine percent attitude and one percent skill. I believe it’s not the skill in you, it’s the will in you. No matter the conditions at home or at work, I never lost this focus. From the beginning my motto has been WORK HARD AND NEVER QUIT.”
D’Adamo explains how his life began to change. “At first,” he says, “I was motivated by the fear of going back to where I had been and that made me work very hard. It was a blessing that I really loved what I was doing. In fact I love what I do today as much as I did when I started over fourteen years ago."
D’Adamo remembers a fellow Sales Rep literally drawing him a picture of the power of team building on a scrap of paper while riding a New York City subway on a rainy night. A never say die kind of guy, Mike began to put the principle of team building into practice. He began coaching others to do what he did. His profits and theirs multiplied.
“That was the first time I saw The Overall Picture, which is what T.O.P. stands for,” D’Adamo explains. “When you build a team, you earn income by helping others earn income. Limitless potential becomes a reality. It’s all about mindset and motivation. Being in the position to take someone from pounding the pavement door-to-door to running their own business, that’s my oxygen.”
D’Adamo is most proud of T.O.P. Marketing Group’s Leadership Development Program because it doesn’t just improve business skills but also life skills. It helps people manifest their leadership, team building and management strengths. When Sales Representatives have climbed the leadership ladder, they are offered assistance and back office support to start their own companies. D’Adamo has coached more than sixty people into ownership of their own business.
“Our whole business concept is based on leadership development. Leading yourself, leading others and controlling your own destiny,” D’Adamo says. “When you sell door-to-door, you learn self discipline, which is a key to success not only in business but also in life. If you want a successful relationship — discipline. If you want to become an Olympian — discipline. You want to be a successful business owner — discipline,” he says.
T.O.P.’s C.E.O. understands that many families, as well as individuals just entering the workforce, face tough economic times. He puts a lot of energy into creating entrepreneurial synergy in many arenas to play a meaningful part in improving America’s economic climate. Among T.O.P.’s clients is the nation’s only energy company that has sold green energy from its inception.
D’Adamo is actively engaged in helping people realize their personal dreams by founding or funding socially conscious business ventures and helping them flourish. These include an accredited Daycare and After School Center, a Drug Treatment Center, several Sober Living Houses and an Italian Cafe that serves fresh, healthy foods. His future plans include a nonprofit organization that helps children who live in the kinds of circumstances he once faced.
“I’ve learned that people are life’s true bottom line. I believe in being a Go-Giver rather than just a Go-Getter. My new high isn’t making money; it’s mentoring others and experiencing the joy of seeing them succeed. There’s a lot of love in that equation.”
“The Overall Picture,” he says, “includes seeing past the difficulties of the day to imagine what could be. It’s so important to really believe that you can accomplish anything in the entire world. No matter what comes up in life and temporarily knocks you down, stay on your path. Stay disciplined, stay focused and keep pushing forward. Don’t stop; don’t give up. We all go through tough times. “The real rewards come when you stay the course. Tough times don’t last but tough people do.”
You can look far and wide and not find a C.E.O. like Michael D’Adamo, who has walked a mile in his team’s shoes — right out there on the front lines.