Selling books door-to-door. Reflecting on an adventure 20 years ago…

Phil Burgess 20 years ago (July 3, 1999), I stood outside a small, blue house in Modesto, California, a 19 year old student, 5,000 miles away from home. I remember glancing down at my watch. 07:59 am. I was bang on schedule. It was more than 100 degrees. The tarmac was shimmering and I could feel the sweat running in rivulets … Read More

Southwestern AdvantageSelling books door-to-door. Reflecting on an adventure 20 years ago…

Ron Alford: Learning to be a man

25 years ago this month, I made a choice that changed everything. June of 1994, I was about to spend another summer landscaping & partying, free golf at the course we were working, Mariners games most every day with my best buddy, Jason Bunge, pictured with me, and just a perfect season in the Pacific Northwest. A buddy then called … Read More

Southwestern AdvantageRon Alford: Learning to be a man

Robin Goodman: Oh, no, no, Nooo!

My son, Ben Goodman, asked me to write a letter for him, explaining how I felt and my reactions when he first told me that he would not be coming home for the summer and instead would be selling books – DOOR TO DOOR – in a different part of the country. So, here goes… Ben came home at spring … Read More

Southwestern AdvantageRobin Goodman: Oh, no, no, Nooo!

What Are We Scared Of

My experience with this is internship started off as an immature freshman, who thought he knew everything. It took me a bit of time for me to get on board, but I knew I was up for some adventure. Now 5 years later, having traveled/worked everywhere from the Shenandoah River of West Virginia to the Gulf of Mexico in Texas, … Read More

Southwestern AdvantageWhat Are We Scared Of

Lizzy Broughton – Tailored

Dear Brad Hendrixson (AKA Mr. Poof), Thank you for recruiting me 10 years ago to sell books door to door with Southwestern Advantage. It’s funny how life rolls out. It all started with you trusting a goofy blonde girl to cut your hair in a dorm room at Indiana University! If it weren’t for meeting you and talking over a … Read More

Southwestern AdvantageLizzy Broughton – Tailored

Congressman Marsha Blackburn – Celebrate The ‘Can-Do’ Woman

You never forget the feeling you have when you are asking someone to hire you. I remember it well.  I wanted that specific job–a job working on commission, selling educational books door-to-door. I knew I would be a hard sell to the company because they did not hire women, they just hired men. I was asking them to not only … Read More

Southwestern AdvantageCongressman Marsha Blackburn – Celebrate The ‘Can-Do’ Woman

Larry Wilmore – Host of Comedy Central’s ‘The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore’

Why I Haven’t Worked in 30 Years Mar 7, 2016 “I’m sorry, we can’t afford it.” “I know what you mean, in fact the Kinnebrews down the street were saying the same thing. But once they took a look at all the Volume Library had to offer in one book and weighed that against how important education is to them … Read More

Southwestern AdvantageLarry Wilmore – Host of Comedy Central’s ‘The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore’

Dakota Fish – Southwestern Advantage develops leaders

Southwestern Advantage came into my life when I needed it the most. I first heard about SW as a freshman at the University of Northern Iowa. My freshman year of college could be summarized by poor study habits and a bad attitude. I had blamed others for why I was getting bad grades and why life wasn’t going the way … Read More

Southwestern AdvantageDakota Fish – Southwestern Advantage develops leaders

Samantha West

I gained far too many things to name from selling books, but the greatest has always been the people. From book suggestions, to stories that make me cry from laughing, and all the genuine questions and advice. Y’all are making the world a little better everyday. –Samantha West, University of Kentucky Visit Samantha’s Facebook business page at

Southwestern AdvantageSamantha West

G. C. Ritchie, DVM – Veterinarian

Name:  G. C. Ritchie, DVM Time with Southwestern Advantage: 4 years College: UNC Chapel Hill Current Title & Responsibility: Regional Consulting Veterinarian, Elanco Animal Health 1.)     What are the most valuable things learned from your Southwestern Advantage experience? I learned that discipline, keeping a positive mental attitude, and working together as a team are all key factors in achieving success.  The experience also helped in … Read More

Southwestern AdvantageG. C. Ritchie, DVM – Veterinarian

Danny Johnston – UT-Knoxville

I’ve worked with Southwestern Advantage for the past four summers and am currently (2016) going into my fifth summer. The experience is challenging and has pushed me far beyond my comfort zone. It isn’t easy. Even so, that’s exactly why I’ve done it every year. I believe that who I am someday going to be, I am now becoming. In order for … Read More

Southwestern AdvantageDanny Johnston – UT-Knoxville

Andres Gamboa: Dear Parents,

Dear Parents, I would like to start by saying that I am not a parent, therefore, take this advice as you will. During my freshman year of college I was approached by a fellow student named Steve who spoke to me about a summer internship opportunity. Over the phone, Steve told me all about this program where “the average student … Read More

Southwestern AdvantageAndres Gamboa: Dear Parents,

Amber Thomas (Bragg) – Surrounded By Amazing People

Through the Southwestern Advantage program, I have learned to never take the easy way out and to always push myself. Although I found each year to be very challenging, it’s also the most rewarding – both financially and spiritually. I have learned when things get tough to never ever give up on myself even though I really, really want to at times. … Read More

Southwestern AdvantageAmber Thomas (Bragg) – Surrounded By Amazing People

Jeremy Kleiber – 8 years

Being involved with the Southwestern Advantage summer program for 8 years radically changed my life for the better. Not only did I develop the skills and character needed to build a life of value, but I was blessed enough to share that journey with the most dynamic, motivated, and positively hard working college students on the planet. If you’re a student … Read More

Southwestern AdvantageJeremy Kleiber – 8 years

Ryan Reilly – Baylor University

I have been through one summer and am going on my second year building my business with Southwestern Advantage. I am deeply grateful for the lessons I learned about hard work and perseverance as well as sales over the summer. For anyone wondering about going through the program/sending their kids, I strongly recommend it!   See more from Ryan on … Read More

Southwestern AdvantageRyan Reilly – Baylor University

Aleksis Anijärv – Tallinn Tech

Definitely suggest the program to any entrepreneurial college students. I like how SW Advantage consciously works on product development, making the study system more comprehensive by creating awesome apps and websites. See more from Aleksis on Facebook at Aleksis The Bookman

Southwestern AdvantageAleksis Anijärv – Tallinn Tech

Andrew Laws – University of Missouri

Excellent company! More of a Family really. The products are really helpful and helped me through school. I worked with SW through college and it helped me pay my way through school and taught me valuable life and career skills. I really felt that my mentors cared about me and everyone was passionate about helping others and giving back. Door to … Read More

Southwestern AdvantageAndrew Laws – University of Missouri

Deianeira Burgess – Truman State University

As I go into my second summer, Southwestern Advantage has taught me about hard work, the value of connecting with people, and that growth comes from pushing your own boundaries. Education is so so important, and I’m very proud to work with such a great company that encourages the value of education! Here’s to hoping I can serve another two … Read More

Southwestern AdvantageDeianeira Burgess – Truman State University

Sarah Maddack – Indiana University Bloomington

It is beautifully rare to find something that improves your personal, professional, social, spiritual, and financial life all at once. Whether you’re involved for one year or ten years, it is undoubtedly worth your time to work with Southwestern Advantage.   Visit Sarah’s Facebook Business page at Sarah The Bookgirl Maddack  

Southwestern AdvantageSarah Maddack – Indiana University Bloomington

Samantha West – 4 year experience

I’ve participated in this program for 4 years and it has been an incredible experience. I initially signed up to gain the confidence I would need to do well in a theater career. There’s nothing else I could have done while in college to learn, earn, or grown more. The friends I have made, places I’ve seen, and opportunities presented … Read More

Southwestern AdvantageSamantha West – 4 year experience

Brittny Cornett – Sept 4, 2015

Brittny Cornett to Amber “The Bookgirl” Bragg I seriously want to thank you for your hard work this summer and for stopping by our house and introducing us to these books. It’s only the second full week of school and already I’ve used the books/app twice, and it brought tears to my eyes to see Lydia benefit from these resources and to … Read More

Southwestern AdvantageBrittny Cornett – Sept 4, 2015

Sophia Olson – Growth, Challenges, and Opportunities

A wise man, AJ Skalsky once told me there is no such thing as work life balance. At the time, I didn’t believe him. I need to have fun. But it’s not about balancing “work” and “fun” equally, it’s about time management and prioritizing. I choose to work 82+ hours a week during the summer, and with that schedule I … Read More

Southwestern AdvantageSophia Olson – Growth, Challenges, and Opportunities

Rick Whitcomb: It takes a special person with a courageous heart

My daughter participates in this program. I pose a few questions for which we should all consider: Can you appreciate our younger generation working hard?  You bet! I saw my mother and father, who were part of the “greatest generation ever,” work hard each and every day.  Hard work is not as common as it used to be for the … Read More

Southwestern AdvantageRick Whitcomb: It takes a special person with a courageous heart

Brian Osowski: I Have Seen My Son Evolve

Hello All, When my son Jacob first came to me with the idea of doing door-to-door sales, I thought he was crazy. I had concerns – for his safety, what kind of support there was going to for him, and how much of an investment I was going to need to fork out. All I could imagine was Kirby salesmen or … Read More

Southwestern AdvantageBrian Osowski: I Have Seen My Son Evolve

Dillon Buck – Lessons From My First Summer

It’s hard to imagine the life of a Southwestern Advantage sales person if you have never sold books, but there is a huge focus on our attitude and actions. Make a decision everyday to do all you can to make it as productive as possible. This decision starts with your schedule.  The time you wake up, the time you go … Read More

Southwestern AdvantageDillon Buck – Lessons From My First Summer

Justin Sweeney – Goal Setting & Attitude

My Houston summer of 2013. Where should I start? I had no clue what I was getting myself into. I had no idea or thought about how much of an impact the Southwestern Advantage program was going to have on me. However, if I am going to start somewhere, it might as well be the beginning on campus at Central Michigan. … Read More

Southwestern AdvantageJustin Sweeney – Goal Setting & Attitude

Josiah Fogle – 4 Things I Gained

My name is Josiah Fogle. That probably means nothing to you at this point, but I have told a few people about my story and if you wanna listen then read on.  Some people at my small Christian college called Calvin have listened and decided to follow suit by joining me in my second summer; so maybe you might find … Read More

Southwestern AdvantageJosiah Fogle – 4 Things I Gained