Couch surfing to consulting …the success story of my college roommate

Colby Foster
5 min readApr 7, 2017

Would you be too proud to get a second job if you already had a 9–5? Darryl Bellamy went from sleeping on a friends couch to hustling his way to the senior levels of corporate America. He crossed the $60k mark by age 25. Wanna here his story? We sat down at my house and covered all the details!

Listen to Podcast: iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud.

“Failure is okay. It’s all part of the story.” — Darryl Bellamy

Darryl is now touring the United States speaking to college students about overcoming fear. Check him out!

My Favorite Quotes from the Interview:

“when you care about people, and people know you care about them….they want you around.”

“Failure is okay. It’s all part of the story and one day you are going to be able to tell that story.”

“Recruitment is like a dating service.”

“I knew i had to do whatever it took to get that debt paid off”

“You can present anything if you have the right attitude.”

“If you have good energy, people are willing to listen no matter what you have to say….at the end of day, I bring the energy and I’m in control of the energy i bring into the room.”

Show Notes

How to land an internship in college?

  • If you are a minority, google: “InRoads”. They will help you land an internship with a brand name company.
  • Use university resources. For UNCC Students, go here!
  • Google it!

How to choose an internship?

  • Go Big — (like AT&T & SunTrust Bank)
  • Research a company that can give you skills
  • Choose an industry with a huge market in a city you want to live*

*For Darryl, he chose finance. Charlotte is a huge banking town so when he got out of school he was easily employable.

Need Motivation to apply for that internship?

Tim Ferris has a great blog on setting stakes for motivation. I recommend finding something material you want to own or an experience want to have. Tell yourself that you are going to “buy this MacBook” or “go on that trip” with the money you make from your internship.

Do you get intimidated in front of executives?

Don’t! ….How?….Own the current season of you life! Whats the hell does that mean….? Keep reading:

Everyone has a story to tell and everyone has value to offer. Live in the present. If you are in college, I promise every executive is jealous of your current season in life.

For Darryl, he explained to SunTrust the value of “on-campus ATM’s” and mobile. I wrote about it in detail here, but needless to say he left a huge impression.

Navigating the recruitment game

“Recruitment is like a dating service.” — Darryl Bellamy

How do you stand out?

Once you get a job, do these two things:

Stay HungryI love Les Brown’s speech about this topic and Darryl lived it! If you want to advance you’ve got to have your eye on a prize that is beyond your current reach. Don’t be satisfied in your current cubical.

Positive Peer Pressure — Darryl taught me a valuable lesson during minute 37:00 of the interview. He quoted:

“You are the average of the 5 people around you.”

It’s common among successful people to surround themselves with successful people. Having friends around you who are constantly growing helps push you past your current situation.

If you don’t have motivating friends, listen to motivational people. Darryl started reading Dave Ramsey in his free time and that lead him to get a second job in order to pay off his debts.

Getting a 2nd Job

  • Work for a company where you make more than just a paycheck — TraderJoes paid Darryl $13/hour + health benefits + a discount on food.
  • Work for a company with weekend hours — Darryl was able to get the night shift at TJ’s and work doubles on Saturday and Sunday. This allowed him to earn serious cash and chip away at his student debt.

How to increase your salary at your 9–5?

  • Change companies — this is #1 way to make more money. Use your resume and experience to show someone else you can work for their company.

Darryl’s timeline went as follows:

  • Wells for 11 months at $33,000
  • TIAA for 11 months at $45,000
  • Signed on at NTT Data for $52,500 and stayed there till +$60,000

Darryl never would have been able to make the kinda of money he wanted being a loan processor at Wells Fargo.

Who is your $19,000 relationships?

  • Darryl used a contact he made at the DNC to land him a job at TIAA earning him $12,000
  • He was referred by a college friend to a consulting firm raising his salary by $7,000

Lesson Learned: Never stop networking.

“Use your head to get your foot in the door” — Harvey McKay

How to go from entry level to a mid-level employee?

  • Work for a consulting firm — Why? Because the industry of “consulting” has a certain ora to it where people think you are a badass.
  • Work for a company with growth opportunity — Is it in your companies best interest to pay you more?
  • Build strategic relationships by caring about people — Focus your energy on building relationships with everyone, but especially decision makers.
  • Do amazing work on things that matter — How does your job grow revenue or increase the bottom line?

Time Stamps

  • Met Darryl, in 2008 at freshman orientation. [1:00]
  • Darryl starts first job working at Dairy Queen. Making $7.00/hour [2:06]
  • Darryl gets first promotion at Dairy Queen at age 15 [2:33]
  • Salesmen in high school fundraiser. Experience [3:34]
  • Gets first internship in college. $14.50/hour at SunTrust bank [8:08]
  • Day to day life of working at SunTrust Bank [11:03]
  • College life after internship [14:40]
  • Gets second internship at AT&T at $15/hour [17:55]
  • Darryl gives family background and how he grew up [19:08]
  • Describes day to day life at AT&T [21:03]
  • Gets fired from ATT. Experiences trump work [24:41]
  • Life during last year of college [28:20]
  • Starts first business [30:30]
  • Fails at first business [31:00]
  • Graduates college and lives on a couch [32:29]
  • Starts to look for 9–5 jobs. Corporate job [35:21]
  • Starts at $33,000 at Wells Fargo as a Loan processor [37:00]
  • Talks about getting a 2nd (night job) job to help pay off debt [39:41]
  • Starts Job at TIAA [44:20]
  • Signs on at TIAA for $45,000 [47:40]
  • Stops working 2nd job and devotes energy to Salary Job [50:00]
  • Me and Darryl meet and do lunch and I refer him to CG [55:00]
  • Gets hired at CG for $52,500 [58:30]
  • Gets promoted and hits a salary of $62,500 [1:05:00]



Colby Foster

I really admire people who can think through ideas. I hope you will join me to help me think through my own.