Your Commitment to Success is Sometimes All You’ve Got
On March 30, 2020, I woke up at 3:27am. The Corona virus was just gearing up. I took a job as a web developer in Miami and was, in my opinion, doing well. On March 13, 2020, the “bosses” disagreed with me and let me go. Within a few days, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, and the whole State of Florida was under “lockdown.” This was important because that ‘s where I live currently.
On March 26, 2020, about 6 million people reportedly filed for unemployment the previous week according to the Department of Labor. As a FOREX trader, I follow economic data. These were the highest unemployment claims filed in history and it was just getting started. I was not one of them because I actually still have a trickle of business coming in. However, this meant that my clients may not be open and building websites, working on marketing, and paying my invoices.
A week before I was let go, I took my last paycheck and invested heavily into my web design and web development business. I saw that my days were numbered and that I was going to have to make money again.
Several of my friends have always asked me why I do what I do. They have focused their lives on finding a job and working for someone else. That is not a luxury I have always had.
A Brief History as an Entrepreneur
I began my entrepreneurial career in 1989. I was fresh out of the Navy and thought I never wanted to work for anyone else again. Since I thought my successes would come quickly, I didn’t see the need to go back to college. Besides, as a former nuclear operator on submarines, I was already “smarter” than everyone I knew who was going to college. I saved a little money from the Navy and started my own business as a credit card distributor. The only lesson I knew about entrepreneurship was never give up. I thought that would be enough and I poured all of my self-proclaimed awesomeness into my first business because it was all I needed. Or so I thought.
I fell flat on my face. I repeatedly fell on my face for another 13 years or so while studying what they taught about business management in schools in my own library. . In 2003, I was working as a commission-only commodities broker and was just shy of living on the streets. I went into work that day and said that I was being forced out of the place I was living while working as a waiter in a Chinese restaurant (no, I’m not making this up). That’s when the CEO of our new company told me that I need to learn when to quit. That was also my first night of sleeping on a picnic table.
This was the first time I heard someone tell me that I “need to learn to quit.” In all the network marketing businesses I got into, the main message was never, never give up and you will be successful. That was the extent of my business education at the time. Later, I figured out that the network marketing game required me to “never, never, never give up” buying someone else’s products and for someone else to receive their commissions on my purchases. More lessons to learn.
Getting Better One Day at a Time
I’ve had other issues too such as struggling with alcohol abuse while in the Navy and alcohol and drug abuse after I got out of the Navy. That’s another reason that I ended up on a picnic table. That was several years ago and I hope I never have to relive that.
After a while, I went back to the restaurant business and got a roof over my head. After a few years, I dabbled in a few businesses but never really got another started until 2011 when I started my marketing support business. I was always bad at sales but good at marketing, especially according to one of my previous bosses in the auto industry. Based on that, I thought that marketing was the way to go.
The Next Steps…
I learned that I could also work from my creative side also. Building creative marketing campaigns really appealed to me although I had no formal schooling in the field. I didn’t have a degree or any credentials to get in that field. Some would say that I still don’t. I started my own business in 2011 because it was the only choice I had. Waiting tables wouldn’t last forever. I had to start my own business and I had to get money coming in.
Starting my busienss was my only choice. It’s the only way that I would be able to get out of the restaurant business and create a life for myself that I would thrive in.
Here are a couple of pointers that can get you on the path you need to be on:
1. Don’t Ask the Wrong People for Advice
I have always thought that people are inherently good and that no one would intentionally hurt someone else. Harming others has never been on my agenda unless they were trying to hurt me, my family, or my country. I held this belief for years into adulthood.
It took me a long time to realize that there are people out there whose purpose in life is to cause harm to others. Usually these people end up in prison (we hope). Now, it seems that some are elected to Congress.
I never understood that people would manipulate, lie, and misinform others to get what they wanted. That’s why I didn’t do well in selling cars. My heart wasn’t in it and therefore, I didn’t do well. I didn’t understand why people needed to buy a new car every six months. The sales people who thrived in the 90’s were those who would sell against what I thought was acting in the best interest of their customer.
Later, I realized how wrong I was. People were misinforming me the whole time. My parents didn’t want me to be an attorney, an accountant, a doctor, an executive, or, as it turns out, anything. One of my clients whose sale collapsed and cost me a ton of money told me that he was happy that I was going out of business (in 2002). He thought business is like warfare. I saw it as a partnership. He set me up for failure from the beginning.
Getting away from people who give you bad advice, is one of the best things you can do for your busienss and your life.
2. Never Take Unsolicited Advice
Everyone has an opinion of what you should do with your life. Sometimes they will walk up and dump a load on you because they are having a “bad day.” They think you should also be having a bad day and will do what they can to make that happen. That is how unsolicited advice works. Someone else wants to dump their theories of what you should be doing. Most don’t even know who you are or what makes you tick.
Don’t fall for it.
3. Don’t Keep Bad Advice
When you keep taking bad advice, you hear it over and over again. If it conflicts with everything you are doing, your brain repeats it often. Your brain starts screaming at you that you are doing the wrong thing. When you take bad advice repeatedly, you make bad decisions based on that bad advice. Those who are constantly selling you on the wrong thing to do take pleasure in watching you fail repeatedly. Believe it or not, these people exist.
Discard bad advice as fast as you can. This requires taking control of your thoughts and deciding what is best for you.
4. Turn off Your TV
Yeah, I said it. We now have a 24-hour news cycle where journalists have become propagandists. The problem is that no one can fill the void with anything meaningful so they become the news instead of reporting it. You can see the disgraceful actions of “reporters” every day in President Trump’s press briefings. Every day it is the same.
Nothing is going to happen that you need to stay propped up in front of the TV waiting for the next big thing to happen. You could be making the next big thing happen.
5. Don’t Be a Victim
Things will work for you and they will work against you. Even when people are targeting you, make sure you never take on the attitude of a victim. Victims never do anything great in life. Most of the time, victims don’t do much of anything in life. No one owes you anything. Don’t be a victim. Do great things in your life.
This is Just Getting Started
Finally, I’m not trying to run anyone’s life. I’m just saying what works for me. I honestly don’t care of you take my advice or if you even read this far down. The point is that instead of complaining about your lot in life, you could be a changing it.