In recent years, due to the economic downturn, I have found myself approached by dozens of good friends and acquaintances who have lost their jobs. The reason they do so is because I am approachable, I know tens of thousands of people, and I have been running a successful business for more than a decade that, despite the downturn, is still showing profit. To many of these folks' surprise, my answers aren't quick nor are they solutions unto themselves. In an economy where even the most qualified prospects are out of work I cannot easily make a phone call and hook them up with a job. My contributions to these friends in need have been stories of my success and examples of what has worked, leaving out what has not. What follows is a customized retelling of Aesop's fable The Tortoise and the Hare.
While aspiring in our twenties my wife, Nastassia, and I would walk our dogs one hour per night after we both got off of work. These walks would take place in the rich neighborhood just across the boulevard and the conversations would consist of starting our own business and achieving our dreams. After seven years at my employer, we felt it was time we could run our own similar business. We planned my exit for mid-October 2001 and had only about a paycheck in the bank. The world changed on September 11th but we kept on course.
We first set up a desk and a computer in the kitchen of our one bedroom apartment. I then drove my car with no working air conditioner three hundred miles to an industry trade show. Although this conference was very under-attended so close after the recent terrorist attacks, I was able to bond with one potential client and also show the elite in my industry that I could stand in the same room with them and look just as good in a suit and a smile.
This one relationship I made at the trade show provided the reference that I needed to land my first job. This first job gave me the opportunity to perform obsessively well and nurture a client relationship that led to ten years and over one million dollars in income.
For Nastassia and me, two quotes remain a constant inspiration:
- “If you reach for the stars, no matter how far you go, you will get further than most people.” ~ Raijko Bojic (Nastassia's Dad)
- “Keep. On. Plugging.” ~ Bob Holmes (Rob's Dad)
I hope you will stay tuned and follow this series, as I believe my stories can help you in your journey as they continue to help us.
Now, I'm going to finish my coffee.