9:00 AM comes especially early for kids or young teenagers. It is even more debilitating when your father is the alarm clock that has a snooze button you don’t want to press. Today by 9:00 AM I have run a mile, been at work for an hour, and had my first cup of coffee. But back then, not so much. There was always something to do around the house and my father made sure that we were up to do it. Of course, we were never in the best of moods in the morning and this reaction would be met with a rhetorical question from my father such as “do you think this is a resort?” He always had us doing something even if it was completely useless to keep us busy. I realize now, as a grown adult, it was all about using our time productively and that’s what I learned from my serial entrepreneurial father.
By no means did I have it bad as a kid growing up, although, my thirteen year old self might say otherwise, but in hindsight I was extremely fortunate. There are kids who...
In a family of 12 children, my father, the oldest of six boys, was told at the age of 14 he was old enough to be on his own. He found a garage apartment and began working as a mechanic. He worked to learn the business then opened his own shop in El Campo, Texas at the age of 17. Shortly after, he met my mother and married her two years later. I was the oldest of four girls and had an older brother.
My mom worked in the family business too by keeping the books and handling the administrative duties. After preparing all of our meals each day and getting us off on the bus to school, my mom and my baby sister (who was not yet in school) would leave with my dad for the shop. By the time we arrived home from school, my mom was always there to greet us. On weekends, after chores at home were done, all of us would often head to my dad’s shop to help him. This is where I learned a little about cars. I learned how check the oil, change the oil, spark plugs and basic engine operati...
Aspiring entrepreneurs often ask me for my opinion on their creative ideas, and there have been a few instances where I have been very impressed with the ingenuity and originality behind them. Too often is the case, however, when asked the following five questions, aspiring entrepreneurs are not prepared to answer the real rubber-meets-the-road questions about their business model, strategies and their target audience: the customer.
1. Who will be the customers that will use and buy this service or product? It is imperative to know who your target market is, or that a market even exists for your proposed idea. This can be tested through talking initially with trusted friends, family and professional peers, and further tested through market research and focus groups.
2. Who are the competitors of similar services or products? You need to know your competition; otherwise, you will be blindly entering into a business with insufficient knowledge of competitive threats. Your competition will...
I started my career in the U.S. Secret Service in 1989 and worked for 25 years before becoming an entrepreneur. I was initially assigned to the White House and after several transfers, ended up in the training division a few years prior to retirement. I was one of those people, scratching my chin, wondering what I was going to do after retiring from such an exciting, think on your feet, and fast paced career. What could possibly top this?
In the U.S. Secret Service I protected Presidents George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. I never realized how much my role in the U.S. Secret Service would prepare me to become a successful entrepreneur. PLANNING is key. When a President takes a trip, anywhere, there’s what is called “advance work” that is conducted prior to the trip. The Secret Service will send an Advance Team to scout every route and literally every step the President will take, down to his bathroom breaks. Everything is surveyed and researched then re...
It's so easy for people to be negative about someone else's dreams - especially those that don't have any.
Ask any entrepreneur and they will tell you that had they listened to all of those who gave them unsolicited advice about their business idea, startup or invention - they would have never taken the first step to get it off the ground.
The very minute you choose to be different, you will be treated differently. For the ambitious person who has the energy, drive, persistence and desire - anything is possible.
Unfortunately for many, those closest to them subscribe to the "Crab Theory" I detail in a chapter of my book, "Unemployable!".
You can safely put dozens of live crabs in a bucket with little worry any will escape as the very minute one pulls itself up by their claws to edge of the bucket, those beneath them will latch on to the crab reaching for freedom and bring them down off edge of escape.