Per Wickstrom – CEO and Founder of Best Drug Rehabilitation

[quote style=”boxed”]My first step is to sell the big vision to my team. I then set the framework so my team will be successful in the execution of the big vision.[/quote]

Per Wickstrom is the CEO and founder of Best Drug Rehabilitation in Manistee, Michigan. BDR firmly believes that a holistic approach to treatment is the best route to recovery. In addition to BDR, Per has founded two other drug rehabilitation centers. He has overcome great personal obstacles and now seeks opportunities to help people beat their addictions and build better lives.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on making my drug rehabilitation centers better and more effective. We’re also working to make the city of Detroit a safer place for children and teens. Through Elite Fighting and Fitness, we’re creating a creative and healthy outlet to help kids stay off the streets and become productive members of society.

Where did the idea for Best Drug Rehabilitation come from?

To tell the story of my motivation, I must first share my struggles with addiction. I grew up in a middle-class family in Michigan; my parents were divorced by the time I was five. Around the age of 14 or 15, I had a girlfriend break up with me for one of my best friends. This motivated me to have my first beer. Next, I began smoking pot. Drinking and smoking helped alleviate the pain of losing her and then watching her with one of my friends. It became a coping mechanism that fueled my drug use. Beer turned into vodka; pot turned into cocaine, and then into acid. Acid turned into opiates; opiates turned into ecstasy, and ecstasy turned into mushrooms. It was a continuous cycle each time I had a problem I didn’t want to confront. Drugs became my way to escape issues with family, money, girls, jobs, school, or anything else.

I didn’t wake up one day with the realization I was an addict — I survived very well as an addict in my younger years. I worked all kinds of jobs during the week while maintaining my ability to get high on the weekends. When I got older, the true addiction really set in. I had the mentality that life sucked, so I started to get high more often as problems got bigger. My weekend drug use and partying spread to weekdays.

My downfall came with the introduction of crack cocaine. This was when my addiction hit full force. There was no more working on the weekdays and getting high on the weekends — I started smoking crack every night I could. I had a difficult time managing jobs, life, work, and relationships; I quit communicating with my family. I would work and earn a few paychecks, only to get fired.

Over the course of ten years, I sought help from four different treatment centers. None of them worked for me. Someone mentioned a treatment program called Narconon, and it changed my life. I started to get my purpose back. After, I had to decide what I wanted to do; I could either continue working as a salesman, or I could figure out a way to help people.

My eagerness to save lives was what motivated me to open up my own Narconon center, which had great success rates. Eventually, I ended up opening separate centers by creating programs structured around different ideas to best serve our clients, such as 12 Steps, faith-based, and holistic treatment methods. If we don’t stop the problem, it will continue to grow.

How do you make money?

Our clients pay us for their rehabilitation. We also work with many healthcare providers.

What does your typical day look like?

It’s super busy. I meet with my staff to go over our numbers and make sure our patients are successful throughout their rehabilitation process. I meet with my team to make sure our digital marketing efforts are producing results. I meet with our counselors to make sure we’re all moving in the right direction and everyone stays motivated. I meet with the media when there are press opportunities.

How do you bring ideas to life?

We have weekly meetings; I consult with my team and make sure all ideas are heard. I make decisions based on data. If the numbers show our decision will produce positive results for our clients and the company, then I take action.

My first step is to sell the big vision to my team. I then set the framework so my team will be successful in the execution of the big vision.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

The move toward holistic health and medicine excites me. I feel the best way to recover is through holistic means. Do away with drug dependency and take on exercise and healthy eating, which is good for the mind, body, and spirit.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I’ve never had a bad job. I was a car salesman for many years. I learned what it took to negotiate, pitch, and provide value to people who need it. I learned not to take no for an answer and always work hard.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would invest more money in effective forms of marketing from the very beginning. I was afraid of AdWords initially, but now that I know how it works, I would have invested money in AdWords from the very first day.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I motivate my employees. There’s nothing more important than a motivated employee who will go above and beyond for the company.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome it?

My biggest failure was my addiction to drugs and alcohol; however, this also later became my greatest strength as it motivated me to become the man I am today. It made me stronger to understand what it’s like to hit rock bottom and recover.

What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I’d love to see a holistic healing app that helps you choose the right diet, exercise, and meditation plan to recover from anxiety and depression.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?

I would eliminate drug addiction, of course. I’m already doing something about that through Best Drug Rehabilitation.

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

I’m an open book. I talk about my successes and failures regularly…but I am a huge football fan and was an amateur boxer back in my younger days.

What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?

Basecamp: It allows me to stay organized with my online marketing team.

DocuSign: This gets agreements signed quickly and efficiently.

Buffer: This allows me to share on my social channels easily.

What is the one book you recommend our community should read and why?

I’d recommend “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi. It’s the best book on networking, period.

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?

Richard Branson:
Richard Branson has built an empire that reaches many different industries: mobile, music, and even airlines. I highly respect his ability to create different brands in different verticals while still keeping the same core philosophy.

Seth Godin:
Seth is an amazing marketer. I follow him to stay up-to-date with trends — and to know how I can best get the word out about my business.

Pitch Anything:
Pitch Anything is all about closing deals, negotiating, and making sure you own the room. I love the Pitch Anything philosophy. If you’re looking to learn how to raise money or close deals, then this is the account to follow.

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

I last laughed at a team meeting. We usually eat together, laugh together, and have fun together. It’s all about building a dynamic company culture.

Who is your hero, and why?

Warren Buffett is my hero because he’s an amazing businessman. He has intelligence, charisma, and honor, which I greatly respect in people.

Do you have a favorite quote or mantra that fits your company? Why is it a good fit?

The quote that best fits us is by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

Our goal at BDR is to help others, and this quote exemplifies that.

Do you have a morning ritual? What is it?

After I eat my breakfast and get ready for the day, I’m on phone calls with my team members, getting stat reports and understanding how I can best support them throughout the day.


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