As a kid, I had dreams of being an entrepreneur. I had dreamed this because I desired freedom. (Little did I know that’s not exactly how it works as an entrepreneur, is it?) In addition to this dream, I had the perseverance and persistence to never stop battling. It hasn’t always been easy, but that didn’t make me want to give up.
Adversity Is A Given, Perseverance Is A Skill
Like so many other entrepreneurs, I was very poor growing up. My mom and dad were divorced, and my mom supported my little sister and me on a civil servant’s salary and $300 per month from my dad. We lived in the ghetto, with a swamp cooler in the kitchen to cool the whole house.
Our slumlord didn’t like to fix anything. At one point, a spot on the floor in our kitchen rotted, creating a hole. For years, the solution was a nailed-down piece of plywood. I can’t count how many times I stubbed my toe or tripped on that plywood.
When I got a bit older, I moved in with my dad and his wife — my wicked stepmother — who mentally abused us kids for sport. She’d routinely tell me how fat or dumb I was. She’d call me names. And heaven forbid that my dad went out of town, which he often did. When that happened, I’d be stuck working as her slave for 3–6 hours on the weekend, cleaning part of the house only to be told to reclean it again and again because it wasn’t good enough — because I wasn’t good enough.
The particular details of my struggle might be unique, but childhood adversity is far from rare among entrepreneurs.
Work, Not Leisure, Is The Dream
I dreamed of being an entrepreneur and the freedom of riches, of the vacations I’d take and the cars I’d drive, of the empire I’d build, and how, one day, I’d change the world.
But there was one thing I never dreamed of. I never dreamed of making $150,000 per year and owning a lifestyle business. I never dreamed of retirement.
I’ve had a ton of friends who are entrepreneurs, and one of the surprising things is that I can’t recall a single person telling me their dream is to stay home all day and not work. I’m sure there are people out there who have that dream, but my suspicion is that, even for those people, if we go back to the first time they dreamed of being an entrepreneur, that was not how the dream started. In fact, more people are living out their entrepreneurship dreams after they retire.
Why Dreams Die Too Early
So, why do we settle? Why do we give up on our dreams?
I think the answer is simple. We get beat down, maybe even abused.
Have you ever been abused or taken advantage of by an employee or customer? I have, as recently as this week. Have you ever had a good idea that you felt the marketplace would love to have, only to struggle to sell your product or service?
The stress and pressure are immense. I’ve watched smart and ambitious people change their dreams and decide they want to be a lifestyle entrepreneur simply because they want to escape the stress — or because they find out their chosen business isn’t a Porsche, but a Ford Taurus, instead.
The company people really want is a company that is growing. But instead of figuring out how to go from a million dollars in sales to 10 million in sales, many give up on their dream. Have you ever given up on a dream? You constantly hear about lifestyle businesses on the internet, and if that is truly what you want, go get it. But if you want a lifestyle business because you are throwing in the towel, we need to talk. I’m not trying to retire at 38. I’ve come here to build something, to create generational wealth, and to win. You can bet I won’t be among the many entrepreneurs who give up too early.
Growth Never Ends
Too many smart and talented entrepreneurs talk to me about how they don’t want to keep growing, how they are settling or even giving up, and it is not okay with me. We need these smart people.
Entrepreneurs keep the economy thriving by building and growing their companies. We need them to step up in the community and help support worthy causes. Entrepreneurs are 5% of the world’s population, and without us growing and thriving, the entire civilized world disappears — no pressure.
I, for one, am committed to growing, and I’m committed to helping you grow by providing no-B.S. info about what it takes to grow a successful business. I will continue to beat the drum of building a solid business foundation that focuses on your customers and referrals first, because this is the least risky — and ultimately most profitable — way to have a successful business.
You can grow, you can have the dream, you can make a difference, and you can touch more lives than most people can even imagine. The only question is are you up for the challenge?