As I approach the end of each year, I always start looking forward to my company’s Christmas get-together, where almost 300 teammates come together for a night of fun, laughter, music and a little mayhem!
This weekend, as my youngest celebrated his fifth birthday, I started thinking about how blessed I am to be at this point in time, in my life. None of what I have around me today would have happened if I’d have decided to stay in a ‘job’, and not be a creator of them (among other things), instead.
So, today I’d like to tell you a story. It’s my story. About the day I realized I was destined to be an entrepreneur. I’m sure you’re gonna relate to it in some way!
And at the end of the post, when you’re done reading, please comment and share YOUR STORY – I’d love to read them all.
I have been in the ‘professional’ world for 22-years now. I was happy the first 14-years.
I worked hard, sold lots and lots of advertising space in some of the biggest publications in Europe; helped create, market and promote multi-million dollar products and services and did more consulting work that you could shake a stick at – all very well paid, I should add!
Throughout this time, however, I flirted with opening my own retail store, publishing my own magazine and organizing live events in London – the dawning of my entrepreneurial mindset, perhaps – but, I never quit to do it all full-time. Why? Responsibilities. I was scared. I feared the unknown.
However, looking back – there was bound to be a breaking point.
The Beginning of the End
In 2007 I was offered a position as the International Sales Director for a supplement distribution company based out of Florida. At the time I was living and working in the Philippines and was very much settled.
I explained that I could perform the role without any issues from the Philippines – even though my client-base would be scattered all around the world. My new ‘boss’ said that was fine, as he knew of my reputation and trusted my professionalism to be able to get the job done. Even at a distance.
I accepted the offer, which included a very generous USD salary and several benefits and bonuses. And all was good for the first 6-months. I brought in lots of new and repeat business and sales numbers were better than ever.
Then something happened…
Then in February 2008 the owner of the company wanted me to fly out to the US for a big conference. Huge clients from around the world were going to be there, some of whom we had been doing business with for a while, and I had never actually met in person. Plus, lots of new prospective clients, too.
I figured that this was a great opportunity to show the ‘boss’ what I was really made of, at the exhibition booth, in client meetings and over the dinner table (I love doing business over the dinner table, even now, to this day!). So, I flew to Miami and the conference began. The next three days were full of action. But, not the type of action I expected.
The boss never once visited the exhibition booth – leaving it all to me. At client meetings, which were held in hotel suites and coffee shops mostly, the boss controlled the entire flow of the meeting. Even when I had something of real value to say, I couldn’t get a word in. At the dinner meetings (all the biggest clients were wined and dined, obviously), I was merely an additional face at the table – again, the boss controlling everything.
Over the course of those first 6-8 months I had made this guy well over $2million in revenue. And with the margins involved in that business, he was sitting very pretty on the profits. But, why had he been so controlling, such a micro-manager at the conference? Why wouldn’t he let me speak to the clients I already had the rapport with for more than two minutes.
To this day, I don’t know.
But, one thing I did know was that I wasn’t happy with it – at all.
On the way back home, at 35,000 feet I started to think about where I was in my professional life. Where I wanted to be, and what I wanted to be doing. Did I want to be working for someone that was happy to get rich off of MY hard work, but not allow me to talk in client meetings? Was I fine with the idea of being viewed as an exhibition booth babysitter?
No, of course not. I was worth way more than all of that.
Then, something REALLY life-changing happened!
Right there on that flight I pulled out my laptop and drafted my resignation letter.
I re-read it a couple of times and saved it, closing the laptop.
When I landed in HK, I took the computer back out of my travel bag and connected to the free wifi (best airport wifi in the world, Im tellin’ ya!). I called my wife on Skype and told her what I was about to do. As she always has, she supported my decision and I hit the send button.
Thats when I became an entrepreneur in my eyes. #BOOM!
Then it was realization time.
I got home and we started planning. Planning for our future.
I set up the Live2Sell Group in March that year – just weeks after quitting my last ever ‘job’. We started with just seven employees – two of which were myself and my loving, supportive wife. We now have almost 300 teammates, and work with countless clients from all around the world.
The business has since spawned two subsidiary companies and although there have been a few struggles here and there, on the whole, it’s been a fantastic entrepreneurial journey – and one that is still continuing.
Although nowadays, I run those businesses at arms-length, thanks to amazing management.
Realization… and Taking Action Were Key!
Was I scared at the time I hit that send button? Yes. I was sh*tting myself.
As a husband and father I had the responsibility of providing for my family, after all.
But, as a man – someone that had obviously realized his true worth in life and business, I simply HAD to take action.
If I hadn’t of been treated that badly. If I hadn’t of hit that send button. If I hadn’t of, quite frankly, had the BALLS to go out and do my own thing at a time that it had never felt more right to do so… I probably wouldn’t be writing this post on this blog, to tell this story to this amazing community (I love you all!).
So, today I ask you…
Do you remember the day that you realized you were meant to be an entrepreneur?
And, if you haven’t quite pulled the trigger yet, I ask you…
What’s stopping you?