“Figure out what you want and go get it. If someone gives it to you, it’s not worth it”. This wise tidbit was voiced by Ross Haley, Co-Founder of TrueMail Marketing.
Ross speaks from experience. As an only child to a travel agent and firefighter, he grew up without many luxuries. At several different times in his life, he lived with both sets of grandparents due to financial circumstances. Through it all, he maintained an amazing relationship with his father and credits him for his own success in life.
Some of his best childhood memories include the time he spent restoring cars with his father. Ross and his dad spent hours in the garage restoring old cars, including an amazing monster truck that Ross owns today. Incidentally, that monster truck carries a story of its own, and symbolizes Ross’s journey to date. In his office is a version of that truck, as a daily reminder of how far he has come in life.
A lifelong athlete, Ross wrestled for 18 years and played football for two decades. Weighing roughly 230 in college, he worked out at the gym 2-3 times per day to have his body in peek football condition. The downside of that time period was that he also partied quite a bit and started a downward spiral in his decision making skills.
After graduation, Ross traveled a road of highs and lows, eventually ended up jobless and homeless, camping out on a buddy’s couch. His personal life was in shambles, his professional life looked bleak, and his weight continued to rise. According to Ross “If you don’t hit rock bottom as a person, you don’t find out who you are.”
Through this time period, it was his father who kept him going. In 1995, a devastating fire destroyed a house, pinning Ross’s father underneath. His father was declared dead after two days of rescue attempts, however; Ross was still holding out for hope and a miracle, and his father was found alive on the third day of searches. Throughout hospitalization and rehabilitation, he was in a body cast and told he would never walk again. Ross watched his father defy those odds, partly due to his excellent physical condition his refusal to give up. Today, his father holds a high standing position in the community while being in amazing shape. Ross felt very fortunate to still have his father in his life and watching him fight for his life was very inspiring. Ross refused to never let his father down again and was determined to make something of his life.
After college Ross worked different jobs and walked away from each position with a little more knowledge, a little more experience and a lot more confidence. Shortly after parting with his employer in 2013, he went home, looked at his dog and wondered how he was going to feed her. Next to his father, Ross’s dog has been a mainstay in his life. Two days later, his buddy Kelly Klein picked him up for a drive and asked him what he wanted to do with his life….Ross told him he needed a job. Kelly pushed harder, wanting an answer to what Ross wanted to do with his life. Ross told him he wanted to own a business. Together with their buddy Patrick O’Neil, they made it happen.
Kelly was much more than a friend to Ross, he was also a role model for the last decade of Ross’ life. Kelly took him under his wing when he was only 20 years and showed him how to network and create a positive reputation as the “go to guy” for everyone whenever something was needed. Kelly has had a tremendous impact on Ross’ life and a big part of who Ross is today.
In October of 2013, TrueMail Marketing was founded. Ross had a history of researching email platforms and implementing solutions, and together with Patrick and Kelly, they created TrueMail Marketing. Their Mission Statement? “To bring True marketing solutions to business owners of all sizes that aspire to grow, and that demand True results from their marketing and branding efforts without breaking the bank.” Since their opening, the company has grown to a staff of 18 and has a customer base worldwide.
Incidentally, while the company was experiencing growth, so was Ross. His athletic frame had taken a hit over the years and in July of 2014 he weighed in at 347 unhealthy pounds. He was eating on the run and not putting much consideration into what type of foods he was consuming. Fast food was also a mainstay in his life, creating an unhealthier version of him former self.
Stress began taking a toll on his body and before he knew it, he was losing weight. However, he was tired, sick and had very little energy. Ross needed a major health overhaul. He began his journey back to health by walking his dog and paying attention to what he was eating. He stopped eating fast food and decided if junk food was his only option on a particular day, he would rather not eat.
During this timeframe, he reconnected with a childhood friend Ashley Amick, after seven years of being apart. Ashley has been a positive influence on Ross with her healthy eating and athletic lifestyle. Ross and Ashley workout six days a week with Olympic lifting on Tuesday’s, Thursday’s, and Saturday’s and Crossfit on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Ross realized quickly by working out with Ashley that he had to let go of his ego and what he thought he knew about working out to move forward. As they say, those who workout together, stay together…Ross and Ashley are now engaged and planning a healthy, long life together.
As Ross also says, “everything happens for a reason” and having a positive and healthy relationship with Ashley, while throwing in a healthy dose of competition has transformed him. Working out 4 – 5 times per week with her and Jon has him weighing in at roughly 225 pounds. He has gone from a 42 waist down to a 36 and more importantly, he feels amazing! Ross tells CTM that Crossfit has had the most dramatic change in his health and fitness. Without both Ashley supporting and keeping Ross accountable and a great Crossfit program, he would probably be close to 400 pounds by now.
Ross has learned there are better and different ways to do things in both his personal and professional lives. Addiction, poverty, and rock bottom combined to propel him to be a better person. He continues to evolve in all areas of his life and everyday he strives to make his father proud.