It certainly is wonderful to be an entrepreneur in the year 2015 with all the tremendous advantages that are available. Technology has made it possible to accomplish things now like tapping into new markets that are halfway across the country and having information be able to travel completely around the earth within seconds. Let’s look back at what it used to be like when I was just a young kid fresh out of high school trying to figure out what I want to do for a living and how am I going to make that happen with the limited resources that I have to work with? This was 1978 and most of my friends were heading off to their freshman year of college. I, on the other hand, did not have the money to do that nor did I have anybody giving me any good direction. I have always been of the opinion that knowledge is power and whoever coined the phrase experience is always the best teacher was a complete imbecile.
When it comes to business, as well as most other areas of life, I would rather learn from someone else’s mistakes than make my own. I became a student of people and I started to look at other individuals who were in business for themselves. There’s an old saying that goes like this – keep your friends close and your enemies closer. By this I mean, study your competitors as you can learn a lot from them.
After getting married three days after I turned 21 years old, and having a baby by the time I was 23 years, I was under a lot of pressure to meet the responsibilities of caring for a family. In the passing years, I did a lot of different things such as owning a painting company and transitioning into the asphalt business for about 12 years. Back then nobody had cell phones and I can remember how difficult it was trying to keep track of my crews that were out doing the work. Unless I was actually on a job site, I couldn’t tell where they were or what they had accomplished. Keep in mind that the paving industry is at the mercy of the weather and often the day would start out nice and then five hours later, rain was coming into the vicinity. It sure would have been nice to be able to just pick up the phone and call my lead man so that I could warn him and see where they were at. Although the asphalt business was a hard way to make a living, I was young enough to be able to endure it. I eventually transitioned into the St. Louis T-shirt printing industry. I went out and got some fancy business cards printed up that had my company name as well as the back of the card saying St. Louis screen printing and custom embroidery. Now that we are in the digital age I am able to take advantage of all the latest and greatest communication tools that are available. I would have to say that life has gotten a lot easier. I can literally run my business from anywhere in the world as long as I have Internet and a cell phone. It’s great to live in a digital society.