“If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade.” – Tom Peters
Last month, I sold yet another small business — my third “flip” in the past 12 months — for a nice profit. I’m currently in the process of starting up another, and I’ve got more planned for after that. Life is pretty good.
But things weren’t always this way for me.
In was May of 1987 and I’d just completed my college education. I had a degree in marketing, a $600 car, $250 in the bank, and an ego that would’ve made Donald Trump seem like a guy with self-esteem issues. I was 100% certain that my new business skills would have me rolling in money in no time.
I was very mistaken.
I quickly learned that making money in business wasn’t nearly as easy as I’d imagined. Despite my best efforts, my attempts at launching my own business were total flops.
In college, I had worked in a program where the senior-level students acted as consultants to actual small-business owners. Some of them were not just having difficulties but were also in danger of going bankrupt — despite the fact that they had started out with substantial capital . . . which they promptly lost.
That experience taught me that though having money to invest in a new business is no guarantee of success, it is very helpful. And I had to accept the fact that I couldn’t entirely blame my initial business failures on having emerged from school with virtually no assets and no connections. My lack of practical experience — as well as my lousy work habits – were almost certainly the primary reasons for my disappointing performance as a fledgling entrepreneur.
Then, a few years ago, I was lucky enough to meet Michael Masterson and I began reading Early to Rise. It quickly became clear to me that though I’d instinctively used some ETR principles on my own, I had not really developed a formalized system for taking advantage of what I had learned through trial and error.
By combining my years of small-business experience with the approach to life that ETR espouses, I’m proud to boast that my income has tripled. Michael provided me with the tools that made it all come together. And now, I’m very pleased to be joining the ETR team as a small-business consultant.
I’ve started and operated over a dozen profitable small businesses in addition to consulting with dozens of other small-business owners. And while Michael’s success has come from working with mid-sized to large companies, I’ve achieved mine with very small companies — microbusinesses — that can be started with extremely small amounts of money.
Michael has asked me to talk to you in ETR about my experiences and to pass on information that will allow you to get started in your own “ETR Microbusiness.”
I love these small businesses. They’re perfect for retirees, part-timers, or for those taking the initial steps to amass the capital they need for longer-term goals and bigger plans. And the money is good. You can reasonably expect to make at least $50,000 year with your first venture. The best part? You don’t need any formal education, you need little or no training, and for some microbusinesses, you don’t even need to speak or write English.
Here’s just one example.
About a year and half ago, my girlfriend Blanca (who is now my wife) needed to generate an income. But since she’d only recently immigrated to the United States from South America, she spoke limited English. She literally had $4.62 to her name — and, because her English was so poor, her only employment options were to work at McDonald’s or be a maid at a Holiday Inn. But, the salaries that jobs like these offer won’t pay the bills of even a modest lifestyle.
I spoke with Michael about the situation and, together, we helped her set some clear goals for herself. Then, based on my own experience, I worked out the details of a simple system that she could use to start her own little business.
The business that Blanca decided to start was a home-cleaning service — which requires very little in the way of speaking, writing, or start-up capital. Using my system, she was immediately inundated with customers. And in less than 30 days, she had a successful business — earning $20 per hour and with all the work she could handle. The entire process went very smoothly, because my system spelled out exactly what she should do to pick out an easy-to-start microbusiness — and then provided her with the actual marketing plan that allowed her to obtain all the business she cared to take on.
Now, I’m helping Blanca expand her business with a plan that will not only employ some friends of hers from Peru who are eager to get work, but will also increase her potential income from her cleaning service to $150,000 a year.
There’s no reason you can’t do the same thing. The “college of hard knocks” schooling that I’ve acquired over the years, along with my formal education, has given me the opportunity to develop many techniques and strategies that are specifically geared to small businesses in areas such as obtaining financing, marketing, accounting, and employee management.
I’m looking forward to sharing these insights in the coming months to help you start your own profitable ETR Microbusiness — and grow it into a formidable income-producing machine.