Great Entrepreneurs Aren’t Born, They Are Made

Think back.  What was your first job where you had responsibility?  Where you were accountable to someone?  What was it?

What about that job stayed with you and you used later in life?  What sticks with you to this day?

Sometimes people look at others and say, man, I’d love to have that life.  But what did they do to get there?  Rarely is anything just given to you.  Over my life, I have worked my tail off.  But, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun.  Looking back, I’d have done somethings different, but on the whole I wouldn’t change much.

A lot of folks think that I had preferential treatment.  Or, they think I was simply lucky.  I hate that.  I earned everything I got, and I made my own breaks.  Things weren’t always a bowl of cherries.  I have failed-a lot.

I never had a steady job in high school.  I was too busy playing basketball.  Never had a lot of walking around money.  My opportunity cost was I didn’t date a lot.  I couldn’t afford to take anyone to the movies.

So, I played a lot of poker.  Whenever I needed money, I mowed lawns or shoveled snow(or won some at the card table!).  My friends and I weren’t rich kids.  We were typical middle class kids that didn’t get into a lot of trouble.  Some of us went to college, and some didn’t.

During summers in college, I worked two and sometimes three jobs.  I pumped gas, sold shoes at Famous Footwear, and worked construction. I saved my dough for when I went back to school.

One summer I worked as an accountant’s helper in a hospital company.  I had a great boss, but was bored to tears.  I hate accounting to this day.  It’s a necessary evil but I have never been a green eye shade guy.  Started out as an accounting major and wound up as a marketing major.

In college, I always took 8 o clocks, and I never missed a class.  I got decent grades, but I wasn’t a Phi Beta Kappa or anything like that.  I went to three schools in four years.  USAFA, Triton College, and Illinois.  Each gave me something that sticks with me to this day.

My wife and I make our kids work. They even work during the school year.  I was hesitant when they started doing that, but now I think it’s a good thing.  We pay for our kids school, but don’t give them any spending money.  They have to get that on their own.

My first job out of college was selling for 3M ($MMM).  I was the mechanical specialist for Chicago.  My sales territory ran from Racine, WI, south to 95th Street, and west to Dixon, IL.  The prior two sales reps that had the territory before me were all star sales guys.  I had massive shoes to fill.  My first year I did okay.  My second year better.  Then I left to try and become a trader.

I was a runner-and my first boss told me I never would amount to anything.  I made $150/wk gross, no benefits, no overtime for three months.  It barely paid my train pass.  Got a job as a clerk and started at $200/wk.  No benefits.  Most I ever made clerking was $400/wk no benefits.

I started trading when Roger Carlsson had enough confidence in me that he backed me.  I am forever grateful to him.  I am done trading for now and trying other things.

To be successful at anything in life no matter how great or small isn’t easy.  Everyone has their own story.  They sacrifice, work hard-and to be really successful, they take personal risk.  There are no guarantees, golden parachutes, or risk free trade offs.

How was your journey?  Tell us about it in the comments.

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