A CONSTANT JOURNEY
The one constant theme in my career journey has been change; starting with college. Upon entering college, I struggled figuring out what I wanted to be when I grew up, I had various interests, but nothing that called to me in the beginning. Over the course of completing my 4 year degree in a 5 1/2 year span, I finally discovered a passion for business.
Shortly after completing my bachelors program, I left my job as a medical insurance biller and joined a medical device company in their marketing and sales department in which I managed the company’s involvement in trade shows and educational workshops. I loved this job as this was my first experience working in a truly collaborative environment. It was exciting to be working in the forefront of new technology that was helping to improve lives with medical breakthroughs. After working with the company for two years, our location was closed as the company had been sold to another company with their U.S. headquarters located on the East Coast. I turned down an offer to move to Boston, and instead, I launched my first business, a trade show management company.
My trade show business journey was short lived, as I discovered that in order to grow the business to any meaningful size, I’d have to travel 3 weeks out of the month- which, with a young family, I had no interest in being an absentee father. After doing some soul-searching and talking with my wife, I made the decision to close my trade show business and pursue working in real estate as I believed working as a real estate broker would accommodate my desire to have a flexible schedule and provide a good income for my family. Rather quickly, I found myself taking courses to become a real estate broker.
Upon entering the real estate industry, I was at a disadvantage. First, I had no backup income source or financial resources to see me through the start-up phase. Secondly, I was in my mid-twenties working in a field that was dominated by brokers that were twice my age; many who had retired from a different career. Somehow, I managed to survive through awkward conversations with potential clients who questioned my experience level based upon my age. Eventually, I found myself launching my own real estate company and added mortgage services to our product offering.
Life isn’t always about amazing successes. In fact, several years in the real estate industry was rough due to economic conditions and the up and down cycles of the market. In 2008, my company took a hard hit and my business partner and I had to close the business. There were many nights of depression and second guessing that taught me many lessons that I carry with me to this day.
Due to necessity, I found myself working at a law firm in which I was responsible for expanding operations and growing a team to build a real estate short-sale branch. While I enjoyed building a team and improving operations, I hated one of my primary responsibilities, which was to be the lead negotiator in working with banks on short-sales.
Another important lesson I learned was that I am not a win-at-all-costs person, rather a win-win for all parties involved. Unfortunately, the short-sale business didn’t operate in a win-win mentality. Everyday I would hide away during lunch desperately using my phone to search for other jobs that I was qualified for, but to no avail. After a year, the law firm’s owners made a decision to focus funding resources on another core leg of the business and I had the unfortunate responsibility to let my team go, before I was let go. While I didn’t like the commute, the pay, and the negotiation parts of the job, it was still an income source for my family.
After a year of unemployment, job searching, and slow real estate sales (I downsized my real estate operations to just myself), I landed a corporate job working as a project manager at a fortune 50 company. In the beginning, I enjoyed growing my business knowledge, however, I disliked the bureaucracy that came with the large company. Over the course of a few years, I was able to move around the organization and continued to grow my experience in resolving complex problems, however, eventually the call of entrepreneurship returned. I desired to take control of my future and take steps to build up a business that met my requirements and definition of success. And so I took action, carefully laying a solid foundation to ensure long-term success and freedom from working in the corporate environment. To ensure I made progress in my journey, I adopted the mantra “Go Simple, Go Fast, Go Now”.
Being successful isn’t about having the “perfect” journey- which there is no such thing. Success is about defining your goals, knowing yourself, taking calculated risks, moving into action, then modifying your approach as you get responses, both positive and negative, to your course of action, then repeat. We find out most about ourselves when we’re down and out, having the School of Hard Knocks kicking us time and time again. How we respond will determine our success. It is these lessons, and others that I’ve learned in my journey that I wish to share with you to help you along your journey. You’ve read this far. You’ve researched enough. It is time to take action! Are you with me? Let’s do this!