Monday, March 17, 2008

$10,000 Per Month and the Power of a Mentor

As I neared graduation from college, I met with various mentors to decide my next step. I declined the job offers I received and declined my acceptance into one of the top MBA programs and decided to start a business. I was determined to build a multimillion dollar company and seeing the success of my mentors and hearing their stories gave me the hope and confidence to take the risk. I started my entrepreneurial ventures in 1999. Two years later, my business had failed and I had tens of thousands of dollars in debt. I was discouraged. I knew it was possible to build a profitable company, but I began to wonder if I would ever do it. The goal I had set of earing $10,000 per month income seemed to be impossible for me. At this point, one of my mentors who had developed a multimillion dollar business told me this story:

My father became a millionaire through building a business long before I did. I remember when I first started building my business; I had a major set back on a business road trip. As I drove home, I was feeling really down and discouraged. I didn't understand why my business wasn't succeeding. I felt like I was paying the price to be successful. I was working hard and yet it seemed that everyone was succeeding but me. All I had to do was open the success and entrepreneur magazines and see every other business exploding. It seemed everyone was exploding except for me.

A couple of hours outside of my home town, I pulled into a gas station to fill up my gas tank. I had been crying for a couple of hours at that point, so I wasn't paying attention to anything else that was happening around me. I finished filling up my tank, and put my gas cap back on. When I looked up, there stood my father, getting gas at the island across from me. I said, “Dad, what are you doing here?” He replied, “I'm out building my business.” I ran over and hugged him and started crying again. Here I was, six foot three, 210 pounds and crying like a baby on my dad’s shoulder.

“Dad, it’s just not working for me,” I cried. “I go out every day and night and work. I'm doing everything I can, but nothing is working for me.” My dad then asked, “Son, do you believe I will succeed as an entrepreneur?” I replied, “You’re already a multimillionaire, dad. I know being an entrepreneur works for you. What I'm having trouble believing is that I'm ever going to be successful with my business.” My dad replied, “So you believe it will work for me, but you don't believe it can work for you. But if I work with you and we work together, do you believe the business will work for us?” I replied, “Yeah, Dad, I think it will work for us.”

My dad took the lead driving home that night and for the next couple hours I followed his car and watched those two little taillights. I followed those taillights home that night and my heart felt so good to know that I had a dad, a mentor that was leading by example. I followed those taillights all the way home that night and I followed those taillights all the way to where now I am a multimillionaire. I'm so grateful to have had the taillights of mentors to follow.

My mentor then told me that his father had struggles starting his business but he eventually made it and that he had struggles starting his businesses and he made it and if I continued I would make it. He then encouraged me to not give up and that success is often time preceded by failures. In April 2001, I started a new business and in 2002 we did nearly a million dollars in revenue. At age 26, I achieved the goal of $10,000 income in one month for the first time in May 2002 taking home $21,611 that month.

No comments: