When Mike Pisciotta was 18 years old, he overdosed on Xanax and woke up two days later in a prison cell. He didn't remember robbing two stores while he was high. Pisciotta spent the next decade of his life in a Florida prison.
For many people, that would effectively end their hopes and dreams for the rest of their lives. Many people would never get past the stigma of being an ex-con. After 10 years in a prison cell, most face a lifetime of trying to outrun the label of 'convict' and have a difficult time securing employment.
But, Mike Pisciotta isn't an average guy. Prison may have taken 10 years of his freedom and most of his 20s, but it didn't take his ambition away. Pisciotta used prison to start his seven-figure consulting business.
Pisciotta was self-aware enough to realize his natural aversion to authority meant he had to find a way to make money being his own boss. So, while he was in prison he made the most of his time. He spent countless hours in the library studying management, marketing and entrepreneurship. He read the Bible regularly. He dedicated himself to learning new languages. He picked up Spanish quickly and became fluent. Today, Pisciotta speaks Spanish and Italian fluently, and is conversational in French and Greek. Eventually he began teaching Spanish to other inmates.
None of it came without challenge. Pisciotta was ridiculed constantly for wanting to improve himself, for not adhering to the status quo of prison life.
Money wasn't allowed in prison so Pisciotta's students paid him in Ramen noodle and tuna packets. He learned that he could start a business and he knew that if he didn't learn new skills, he wouldn't have a good chance of making a living outside of prison.
Along the way, he also found love and a life partner. Robin was a local church youth leader with a popular radio show. Pisciotta was an avid listener and felt drawn to her. So one day, he asked his mother to call the station on his behalf. He started writing letters to Robin. His letters stood out to her and she eventually scheduled a visit to the prison to meet him. They bonded over their shared commitment to the Bible. In October 2009, seven years after they first met, Pisciotta and Robin got married.
Pisciotta was released from prison with the full knowledge that life wasn't going to be easy for him. He knew people would have a hard time accepting him. He worked in retail, food service, telemarketing, tutoring, and carpet cleaning. Eventually, attitudes about his past would sour the situation and Pisciotta would find himself in the job market once again.
Pisciotta expected the world to give him a hard time. He did not expect his past to also affect his wife's job prospects. When the management at Robin's job found out her husband was an ex-con, they fired her. To make matters more complicated, Robin was pregnant with the couple's first child.
Entrepreneurship was the couple's only option. Pisciotta decided to apply all those lessons he'd studied in prison and start a business of their own. Pisciotta had a unique perspective on technology after a decade in prison. He saw how much had changed in that time and knew that he and his wife had to build a business online.
They built a website and went out on trash pickup night looking for old televisions, printers, and appliances and sold them on Craigslist. They made enough money to get by, but realized they would do better helping other people set up their own online businesses.
The couple put together websites, online sales channels, and other online marketing plans and platforms for their clients. They got really good at it and were turning their clients into millionaires. They had a waiting list of people waiting to work with them. However, all of this came at a cost. The couple was working 12+ hours a day, every single day. They had little time leftover to spend with their son.
They made a decision. They fired all of their clients and launched a coaching and consulting business model. They also put up a few e-commerce sites that ran automatically and saved them a lot of time. Just over 18 months after their transition, the couple had made more than a million dollars.
Perhaps as important as that seven-figure income is the couple's newfound ability to make their work schedule fit their family's lifestyle. The couple spends time with their two kids, remains active in their local church, and Pisciotta has written a book, From Prison to Prosperity, about his prison experiences and how they made him the successful businessman, husband, and father he is today.
Celebrity Net Worth would like to give a shout out to Daniel Marlin for bringing this fascinating guy to our attention.