Alby Luciani | Big Dog, Greater Reputation
If you’ve never had the distinct pleasure of interacting with Alby Luciani, you need to be filled in. Before even meeting him, if you reach out to Alby, you can expect the most helpful, reliable, humble, and quick response. When you finally do get to meet him face to face, his genuine character, and his eagerness to use his many talents to help others, is contagious.
He’s now one of N2’s (the company behind Real Producers) newest Big Dog Award recipients for the above traits and more. And for a “big dog,” he sure does come with a small ego, a drive for bringing about positive change, and a full heart for the people around him. Alby hails from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where his long Italian family line runs deep and close-knit. As one of the first in his family to break away from home, he knew he was ready to buckle down and make it big. And he thought he knew what it would take to get there. It was a journey, though, to end up in the right place.
Alby first studied business at the University of Wisconsin. Right out of college, he knew what paid off – or what he thought would pay off: hard work. To him, this meant climbing the proverbial corporate ladder within a large, tried and true company.
Admittedly, Alby now looks back and thinks, “I was pretty naive in terms of how I’d be rewarded.” Long days turned to nights at his day job, and weekends were spent staying in a motel to attend Executive MBA classes at the University of Arkansas. One of the first straws to break came in the middle of this program: Despite originally being told otherwise, Alby’s company would not be paying for his Master’s degree. And since his director at the time had just been fired, “No one was championing my cause.”
It was strike one for the company in terms of how they treated their people, but no sweat. Alby wasn’t going to let one setback discourage him; he was just trying to get promoted. After all, he was 22 and already making more money than he ever thought possible. In other words, for Alby, he’d already made it! He had a company car and was still making moves, financially speaking (as well as geographically speaking, as he moved all over the South when they wanted him to pack up and go) – goals he couldn’t have reached had he chosen to stay back home.
In 2015, he created a new piece of infrastructure for the company that was implemented in 30 states. His reward? A mere $1K bonus. Alby chalks it up to “institutionalized mediocrity,” where a break from tradition, no matter how impactful, is seen as suspect – and certainly isn’t valued.
The company was in decline, and this likely had to do with the fact that leaders had done things the exact same way for years. Young innovators were not welcomed. Then the second straw broke: After working for two years with the vice president of the sales organization on a special project to create an online collaboration medium, Alby was given a compliance violation and had his pay docked. He worked nights and weekends as part of a hand-picked special team, yet even the VP leading this work was punished and later fired. And although Alby was eventually given a retroactive promotion, he realized this was not a company he could trust long term.
ALL GOOD THINGS
Just as he was thinking his first corporate experience and hard work was all for naught, Alby’s one saving grace appeared: Brittany.
Brittany held a similar position in the same company as Alby and lived in Oklahoma. After meeting in 2016, they started a working friendship, sharing ideas for the business.
“I immediately had a crush on her,” Alby admitted.
They began dating, and in 2017 Alby requested a transfer to Oklahoma to be near Brittany. Long story short, the straw that finally broke the camel’s back came after Alby was told there were no positions open in the area (even though there actually were!). Alby confronted his superiors and was told it was more important for them to choose a new college kid so they could keep their recruiting status from the University of Missouri instead of allowing Alby to work in Oklahoma. At that point, he put in his two weeks’ notice – on the very day he turned 30. Then, in true “too little, too late” fashion, the next day they offered him the position in Oklahoma and he proudly refused.
Reflected Alby, “It was a blessing in disguise, right? What I didn’t know at the time when I was super frustrated was that God was waiting for me to meet Brittany, my fiancée.”
And on that same day he turned 30, Alby signed his franchise agreement with N2. It should be noted Alby is calculated when it comes to business. He didn’t just pick N2 from a random list. He even hired a franchise recruiter and looked at everything from Orangetheory Fitness to Ace Hardware.
While browsing Entrepreneur’s Fastest-Growing Franchises list, he came upon N2 and decided against his franchise recruiter’s advice – eventually cutting ties with him – to go for the opportunity. His decision to sign up with N2 was also met with skepticism from Brittany as well as his family. From the outside looking in, Alby was living the dream. He had just achieved a coveted six-figure salary, so why would he leave all of that for an unfamiliar company with no guarantees?
Institutionalized. Mediocrity. He couldn’t keep spinning his wheels at a place that was fundamentally opposed to everything he cared about.
Until N2, Alby was always known as the analytics guy and he had actually been told that what held him back was his “selling and communication” skills. This caused a huge fear in the franchise-selection process as he couldn’t risk a large upfront investment if he couldn’t justify the cost by selling well. But in this case, he figured even if he was terrible at selling advertising, the franchise costs for Real Producers were so minimal, he could just start over and “get a real job” if it came to that. So Alby packed up a U-Haul and drove from Georgia to Oklahoma City in June 2018. The couple’s grand plan: They would live off Brittany’s salary while he ramped up his publication, OKC Real Producers.
EVERYTHING HE’D HOPED FOR
Alby was invited to become a Launch Director in May of 2019, and he’s so happy to see processes he’s created and helped fine-tune become part of the Real Producers program. The once sales-adverse analyst also became the first person to cross the $1M mark in annual sales in Real Producers history.
“N2 was everything I was hoping [the other company] would be,” Alby said. “I’m the kind of person on the phone at night helping someone, but it had always been a nuisance. Here, it’s super appreciated. We’re trying to cultivate and grow talent, build systems and infrastructure – all the stuff I was meant to do. I’m happier than I can explain here.”
Alby’s goal was to be back at his previous salary by the end of 2019. He hit his goal 11 months early, bouncing back financially in January. By May, he was at twice his previous salary. Now he’s thinking it’s possible he could make five times his salary by next year… all by working lessthan he ever did in his previous career!
“I determine my own everything here. If I don’t want to help others and just make as much money as possible, I could do that,” Alby said. “[But] if I want to help others, it’s extra rewarding.”
Alby and Brittany are now focused on building a community in Oklahoma City. Before, he was sent all over the country for short periods of time. Now, they can settle into the city, make it their own, and, as Alby jokes, create another long Italian family line.