Entrepreneurial pursuits have been the one thing that I have done my entire life. What happens when failure is the only thing that I have done correctly. Do I get bitter or better.
I choose better!
The issues that I have experience running a small business are transformative to say the least. I have been at this journey my entire life. I do not know what this is called and can not explain all the things that have happen over the years. From failed business to failed business to another failed business. I have war stories. Some of my stories lead me to think that I have truly gain from the knowledge of my past while others show me that I am still a work in progress. However, October 9, 2009 was the breaking point for me. The day I truly understand that I am lost in the wilderness of my mangled business-oriented mind. For some reason, I still believe that I can make it through my issues both Financially and Spiritually. Financially I am in ruins. I have no liquid cash, I am selling things that I own for a song, and I am head over hills in debt and still digging. I have no retirement fund, no savings, no home, no credit, no prospects of new work. All these issues are smack dab in the middle of the worst recession in the history of the United States; only a depression is worse. Clients that own me money are not paying and I can not seem to pay anyone. The feeling is so overwhelming that I wonder how I am making it from minute to minute. Sleepless nights abound and the knots in my stomach are serious.
It is a family tradition to have a chance at business and mess it up. My father, bless his heart, tried to run a business and has not (to date) seen his dream breath air. In the late 1970, he had a janitorial company. It died. He tried opening up a dry cleaners - two in fact. They both died. In the 90’s, he tried to open a Dollar Store. It died. In the 21st century, he tried to run another janitorial company. It died.....
That leads me to today, in 2009, half the man he was – recovering from a massive stroke and heart attack has forced him to live within the bounds of a meager social security and retirement checks with no savings to speak of. Its a very sad story and one that many people can relate to.
As I reflect over the pass 10 years of my business journey and wonder how I got here – I pause and remember all the wonderful people, songs, and sayings that I have been encouraging words for me. Pep talks, the good’ ole fashion “rah rah” speech, the spiritual song that want to give my troubles to the “Lord”. If I am honest, it all feels good for a few moments, but later I am re-approaching “that place”.
So today for the first in my life I am breaking that cycle. I understand that the business lessons of my father where lost to the grey area of life. The space between idea and execution. My father can not tell me what happen to his business dreams in a constructed way, but the story is told in the emptiness of his eyes. Having the problems that I have had in my business life – I am sure my eyes are beginning to tell a story. But which one. The one of success, life fulfillment, and purpose or the one that never seems to make it, always late, always behind, and coming up short.
In this book, I will discuss the lessons I have learned over the years as a seemingly failed businessman. From how not to price your products and services, how to not get paid from clients, how not to spend money, how to get screw by your customers, where to live and what to drive. I will use the legendary “never” and “always” a bunch because these hard and fast rules are what I am living. I will also include lessons from business people that have gone from rags to riches back to rags (or riches) again. What did they learn? What would they do different next time?
What can you learn from the bottom? Lets grow together.
Snippet from Chapter 2:
Lesson One: 1
Say No Quickly and Do Not Regret It.
It was 1995 and I was home from college for the summer. The entire semester I lived on student loans and did not work a job. I whined about getting a job and could not bear the thought of working at Wal-Mart or Target, so I thought it would wise to..........