Welcome to my blog.
I was a successful slave to retail for 14 years before becoming an internet entrepreneur in 2009.
I know what it is like to make money doing something you hate. I also know what is worse; watching a decades worth of hard work vanish almost overnight when the recession hit retail in 2008. I went from having the Midas touch to hemorrhaging money and choosing to close the business before I went down with the ship.
I know what it is like to rediscover yourself, trust yourself. Create a new business, in an area you have zero expertise in, and make it work. I make it work because I love it and the challenges that come with it. I had to succeed in order to provide my family with the life we desired. There is no bail out for the small businessman. I wouldn’t want it anyway.
I am entrepreneur. I am hustler. I am a problem solver. I THINK. I love the challenges and the obstacles. I love the stress and the drama. I love being the little guy competing against the big guys. No fight is too big. I wake up at 5am and work weekends because I want to, not because I have to.
In the past year I saw my company double in size, turned 40, and had heart surgery. I always have plenty to say about business and life, so it became pretty clear now was the time to start blogging and say what is on my mind. Life is short.
WHY I LOVE BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR
1. I get to do what I LOVE.
I used to be in retail. I owned a childrens shoe store. Retail sucks. I’m going to write a blog post about all the reasons WHY retail sucks(but not today, stay tuned). Spending your life in a rectangular box trying to sell ‘stuff’ sucks. What I do now is AMAZING! Thank you to Al Gore for inventing the internet. Thank you to Fathead for making Derek Jeter wall graphics and giving me the inspiration for Wallmonkeys, even though you don’t know it. Maybe I’ll send Dan Gilbert a Wallmonkeys decal. Thank you Google Analytics. Thank you Magento. Thank you SEO, POD, PHP, CPC, PLA’s, and whatever other acronyms make Wallmonkeys possible. I can think of something and then make it happen. If I want a new feature on my site, I find someone to make it happen. If I want to sell through a new sales channel, I do it. If I want to spend more on advertising, I do it. If I want to buy new equipment or attend a trade show, I do it. Anything I want to do, I can do. And love it. The ideas are mine. There is nothing to hold me back. Ready, aim, FIRE!
2. I am unemployable.
I don’t listen well, and cannot stand it when people tell me what to do. The idea of being 41 and calling someone my ‘boss’ seems laughable. That boss would also fire me.
3. I like the risk/reward scenario of running my own business.
Some people like a 9 to 5 job. They like a steady paycheck, health benefits, paid holidays and job security. Not me. I’ll take the risks. Calculated, intelligent, well thought out risks, and the larger rewards that come with them.
The idea of ONE source of income scares the shit out of me. I don’t care if you work for Goldman Sachs and make $1 million a year. You still have ONE source of income. If you get fired, good luck keeping up with the mortgage payment, country club membership, and private school tuition. I have thousands of customers at Wallmonkeys. They are not all leaving tomorrow. Even if one or two people stop choosing us, the new customers and existing customers more than make up for it. People always ask me, ‘isn’t it scary being your own boss? It’s so risky, isn’t it?’ I think it is risky putting your family and security in the hands of a company that might not care about you very much. I care about me very much!
4. I get to make my own hours.
Granted, I work seven days a week and think about business 24/7, I can still come and go as I please virtually all of the time. If one of my kids has an event, I will be there. If I want to attend Crossfit at 4pm every day, I can. If I’m having a tough day or am in a bad mood, I can just leave. It helps that I wake up at 5am most days, and get more done by 10am than most people do all day. I can also get back on the computer at 10pm and work again if I feel like it or need to. The freedom of working when I WANT and on what I want, is invaluable. Plus, it isn’t really work if you LOVE IT!
5. I do not have to listen to anyone, (except my wife).
This goes back to number 2. There are many things I need to do as a business owner. Payroll, schedules, taxes, certain emails, etc…but in the BIG PICTURE, I get to focus my time and energy on whatever I like. That is usually the projects that will show the greatest return for Wallmonkeys. Having someone assign me work would be a recipe for disaster.
6. I hire people who got better grades than me in school.
I cannot write code. I am not an expert in data analysis. I am not a CPA or a lawyer. I do however pay people to do all these things for me, and I’m pretty sure they all got better grades than me in school. I don’t have a masters, but I write checks to people with advanced degrees and we work very well together.
7. I like to wear jeans every day.
I aim to wear a suit five days a year or less. Weddings, funerals, and Bar Mitzvah’s are about it. I love wearing jeans. I am most comfortable wearing jeans. I am sure you look great in a suit. I may look good in a suit. Doesn’t matter. I still hate wearing them. Here a couple pics from 2013, you can decide. Either way, nothing is better than being able to dress how you like, each and every day. And I must admit, I love checking in to fancy hotels and seeing all the business guys in suits strutting around and not wanting to be one of them for a single second. Not having to wear a suit could be the single greatest reason to be self employed.
8. I HAD to be self employed.
I was a B/C student in school. There wasn’t a long list of people waiting for me to graduate. I was the classic underachiever. When colleges institute a pay for grades system, entrepreneurs will get better grades. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the extra time needed to get from a B to an A. It wasn’t going to make a difference in my life. I chose to have more fun and not get A’s. I must have known that being self employed was for me though. I couldn’t imagine what company was looking for me when I was fresh out of school.
9. RULE: NO investors – There is a theme here. Wallmonkeys doesn’t have a single investor. If I accepted investors, someone might have been able to tell me I couldn’t do something. Maybe I’d have to run an idea or major purchase past someone and missed a golden opportunity. That doesn’t feel right to me, so I have funded and grown Wallmonkeys on my own and with cash flow. I suggest you do the same. Or not, it is up to you. The other reason I never looked for investors was the idea of losing someone else’s money. If I take a risk, it is with my own money. I’m not sure I could have been so bold if I was spending someone else’s money. My conscience would not be able to take losing someone else’s money. I have no problem betting with my own intelligence and my own checking account. Bring it on.
10. RULE: NO partners –
I did that once. I would never do it again. I’m pretty sure partnerships fail more often than one owner companies. Hire great people. Network with amazing people. Do not have a partner. I know it worked for Hewlett and Packard, but it sucked for Jason and Weisenthal.
11. Network. Learn from people smarter than you-
There is nothing better than spending time with like minded people. Intelligent people. Brilliant people. Time FLIES when I am surrounded by fellow entrepreneurs and business people. It could be a lunch or two day conference. You feel alive. The hours fly by. And your business and mind benefit from the experience. I’ve been lucky enough attend a few life changing events in the past year. Jayson Gaynaird’s Mastermind Talks in Toronto, joining Derek Coburn’s CadreDC Group, and most recently the RGE Event in McLean, VA. The following is a short list of the people who either taught me something invaluable, introduced me to people, or have become valuable friends. In no order: Chad Bridwell, Derek Coburn, Marcus Sheridan, Joey Coleman, James Altucher, Ian Altman, Jayson Gaignard, and Isaiah Hankel. Instead of searching for answers, I can now send an email to a few people, and more often than not, be introduced to the exact person I am looking for. My network is smart. My network is connected. My network is filled with amazing people. I hope you can do the same.
13. So I can have my own blog, finally.
My experience is finally at a point where other people may find something worthwhile to act on after reading my blogs. I plan on sharing plenty of links to great blogs. I will vent and rage and be sarcastic about the stupidity I see in the world. I’m a Type A guy from Jersey, and you will see that. I’ll also praise the genius I see when it shows up.
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