I bought my first business when I was nineteen. It was a stock market simulator called CoolWallStreet. After selling it, I saw the benefits of buying a business instead of starting a new one.
While attempting some startup business ideas, I played around in the stock market. I found it nearly impossible to get ahead, as my savings continued to dwindle. I was tired to not being able to afford the freedom to follow my passion for travelling and connecting with people, but I was terrified to try anything.
After selling my business, I was offered an opportunity to enter corporate America, which I accepted. It may have been 2002, but to me it felt like yesterday. I was young, and the thought of what the next 40 years would look like scared me.
As a college dropout, I knew I would hit a glass ceiling in the corporate world. Yet, I had neither the time or money to afford further education. I quickly found myself thinking cynically about the path I was on.
Talking to coworkers who were nearing retirement, I saw a future for myself where I lived on little more than social security. It was obvious when I spoke to my older coworkers that their retirement plans weren’t working for them.
I didn’t enjoy the work that I was doing and it was impacting my quality of life. Eventually, I was let go and found myself with a choice. I could go find another job or take a risk on something grander. My freedom.
I didn’t realize the impact this choice would have on my life, but I don’t regret a single second of it. I pursued something bigger than I had ever dreamed possible and had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I knew that I couldn’t risk my future with another startup. So I decided to find another business I could buy. I made some sacrifices, found a mentor, and bought my next business. To advertise this venture, I put billboards up all over the city saying, “We Buy Ugly Houses”. I grew that company to be my first million dollar business and sold it.
I took some of the money I had earned and bought two retail stores. At one point, each business was doing over $1 million in revenue. Before I knew it, I was on the path to becoming a dealmaker.
But it was nothing like I thought it would be.
I was self-employed but was working harder than I ever had before, at more than 80 hours a week. I found myself dealing with the headaches of running a business and putting out fires constantly. The money was good, and I enjoyed the work more than when I was an employee, but it wasn’t the life I wanted.
That’s when I decided to sell the businesses.
I took some time off and traveled, while collecting the cheques from selling my businesses. I spent some consulting and built a relationship with a certified billionaire. This experience taught me that wealthy people didn’t reach that level of success because of their businesses. Rather, they attained their wealth from growing a business and selling it.
This time, I wanted to do things differently. I knew that starting a business from scratch was too risky, so I chose to buy existing small businesses with established client bases and profits. I quickly realized that I could buy these businesses with less money than it would cost to start a new from scratch.
I also decided to design my life and build my business strategy around it. That choice led to me buying over 40 businesses in the past 16 years. I discovered unique strategies to finance businesses and help other people leverage those strategies.
To me, the secret to success is about providing more value than you can take. By working this way, compensation becomes a bi-product of your value to society. The process is simple, by learning more skills you’re benefiting the greater good and reaping the rewards from your efforts. This knowledge can come from technical skills such as SEO or analytics, to creative skills like leading or inspiring others.
To be able to look someone in the eye and tell them you can help get them where they want to go, is one of the most powerful gifts you can give.