Eric Spofford, CEO of Spofford Enterprises, is a dynamic entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and life coach with a remarkable story of triumph over addiction. At just 23, he founded one of New England’s largest addiction treatment organizations, later selling it for an impressive nine-figure sum in 2021. Beyond his addiction work, Spofford is an accomplished real estate investor and developer. Spofford Enterprises oversees diverse investments in real estate, private equity, media, and behavioral healthcare, among other innovative ventures.
How did you get started in this business?
In my youth I was involving myself in drug-related activities, which led to addiction and a tumultuous lifestyle. However, at the age of 21, in December of 2006, I made a crucial turning point in my life by entering into recovery and achieving sobriety. This milestone marked the beginning of a transformative journey that has spanned 16 years, now approaching 17. My commitment to sobriety provided a solid foundation for personal growth, focus, and determination. In my early twenties, I delved into entrepreneurship, founding my first business in the addiction treatment and recovery sector at the age of 23. Simultaneously, I ventured into real estate, taking the significant step of purchasing my first property at the same age. Over the years, I expanded both my real estate portfolio and the addiction treatment business, with a continued focus on personal and professional development throughout my twenties and early thirties.
How do you make money?
I’d say 97% of our patients that come to us have a health insurance policy that will pay for their treatment. We treat adults, men and women over the age of 18, for a variety of different addiction problems.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
My addiction treatment and recovery businesses are helping people that suffer from substance use disorder get sober and change their lives. Since this is such an epidemic, people are always in need of this help and it did not take long for business to begin.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Yeah, all the time. You have to be tough to be an entrepreneur. You really have to be mentally tough. There were countless nights that I had a pit in my stomach and anxiety to the point of nausea. I think one of the disciplines of entrepreneurship is never letting them see you sweat. Although I may have been absolutely terrified at times in this journey, never letting your team see a sweat was a large part of it.
How did you get your first customer?
Alcoholism is now the leading cause of accidental loss of life in America. You are more likely statistically to die of an overdose in America today than you are to die of a car accident. We’re at the front and center of that. It’s not easy. But when you get to see people find recovery, find sobriety, and see the fruits of that, it’s unbelievable.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
My primary focus has been on leveraging Facebook and Instagram ads as well as digital marketing strategies to boost my coaching program and online education initiatives. These offerings encompass a wide spectrum of services, with a core product centered around personal development and mindset enhancement, complemented by a coaching group. Additionally, I also provide educational products specializing in real estate, particularly low-income services, further expanding the scope of my impact and expertise.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
In the past few months, as I navigate the daily operations of my organizations, I’ve encountered a multitude of significant decisions. Leading such endeavors often means linking the choices I make to tangible, real-world consequences. These decisions primarily revolve around addressing performance issues and human resources matters, which occasionally require us to make the tough call of terminating an employee. It’s a weighty decision to take, as we understand the personal and financial implications it has for the individuals involved – they have bills to pay, families to support, and real-life responsibilities. This isn’t a mere video game; every decision we make has far-reaching consequences, and these personnel decisions represent some of the more challenging aspects of the role.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
Sobriety. I have a clear mind, I don’t drink alcohol, and I don’t use any mind altering substances. That’s not for everybody, but it gives me the ability to have an extreme level of clarity and an extreme level of focus.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
The biggest learning curve where I’ve had the most mistakes and learning lessons has been in developing my ability to recruit, onboard, train, manage, and oversee people successfully. A lot of that had to come with experience. Moving from the beginning of that to my current skill set has probably been the most challenging, but also the most rewarding thing that I’ve done in business.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
Each day is a thrill for us. We’re experiencing remarkable growth in our recovery business, positively impacting more lives daily. The upward trajectory is truly exhilarating. Simultaneously, our real estate ventures are flourishing, and our coaching and mastermind initiatives continue to expand. The excitement permeates all three aspects of our work. The ability to seamlessly transition from one role to another throughout the day is not just a job but a source of genuine enjoyment.
What business books have inspired you?
$100M Offers by Alex Hormozi. My friend Alex is an expert in the space of digital marketing. He’s done an unbelievable job with it. It directly ties into what I’m doing and what’s important, being able to scale and grow my businesses.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
That’s a really good question. I got sober when I was 21 years old. Prior to 21, I’d have a lot of advice to give myself. I was making a lot of bad decisions. I was doing bad things, using bad substances, and hanging out with bad people. So, I was certainly primed for a lot of advice. After getting sober, I was really on the right track. I was obsessive toward my goals. The same way I was obsessive over doing drugs and drinking alcohol and living a not so great life. I took that same addiction and that same obsessive thought pattern and applied it to good things. Knowing that this is about the long game and that everything that I was doing would pay off. I would give my younger self that reassurance to keep the faith.
Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how should someone contact you?
You can connect with me on Instagram.