Each business has a story. No matter if the business is a Goliath like Wal-Mart, or a local business owned by a couple or family, the business has roots in an idea. For each business owner, the story of their journey can range from monetary needs or the passion for a unique project. Each story is different though the reasons may remain the same. No matter the tale, the background behind each and every business is what fuels each entrepreneur and brand.
The ride can be very daunting, but the most exhilarating and the life learnings you receive are second to none, allowing you to grow as a person wearing many emotional, physical and mental hats.
My advice for those who wish to seek a challenge and go down this path - believe in yourself and don't worry what others say or do - be persistent and and the success will come from doing those things that people are not willing to do.
Once again, don't worry too much about the commercial benefit, but the enjoyment factor!
The number one reason
I started my business was quality of life. I wanted a business that would allow me to travel and set my own hours. I truly believe if you can survive the first year of working for yourself, then you can make it the rest of the way!
I first jumped after my junior year in college (Colby College in Maine) and formed a rock and roll band in 1971. It was there that I learned the dynamics and felt the intensity of running a business, as crazy as it was. I did that for 6 years and then got a “real job” in ad agency and got married.
But I still felt like a caged animal.
I jumped again and started a video production company when I was 35 years old, with a wife and two young children. Ever since then I have owned and operated my own businesses and never looked back.
Driving the car is much more fun than riding! The highs are much higher and the lows are much lower, but it is “real life” and it has always been incredibly stimulating to me.
It’s not for the faint of heart, but it is a blast if you take your work and your customers seriously and don’t mind living on the edge a lot of the time.
My wife and I have owned and operated PATIENCE BREWSTER, INC. since 2002 and this has been an wonderful successful adventure from the very beginning, mostly because she is so talented and people love her work.
I used to watch the show “Quirky” on the Sun-dance Channel a few years ago. While the show no longer exists, the company certainly does. The way Quirky works is you submit your idea on their website. You then need to secure 200 or more votes on your idea and then it moves to the next level for product review. During the product review, Quirky determines if they want to produce your product (for which the creator would receive a royalty on). Well, I DID receive the 200 required votes (along with some great feedback). However, Quirky later informed me that they do not produce any type of apparel.
After being discouraged for maybe a minute, I decided I would pursue my sock idea on my own. I researched various sock manufacturers and worked with them on the design, fit and packaging. I came up with a logo, created a website and put together a business plan and strategy for launching my new company. I found a void in the marketplace and took it upon myself to fix the problem and come up with a solution that I knew other parents were looking for. That’s when I became an entrepreneur and created babyfitFOREVER.
Enter babyfitFOREVER, socks designed specifically to meet parents’ and babies’ needs – the need to keep baby feet warm and to save parent’s time from searching for missing socks or having to go to the store to buy new ones! My desire to provide products that are stylish, and most importantly fit, led me to expand the babyfitFOREVER product line to now include children’s gloves for ages 3-5. My goal is to continue to build upon the babyfitFOREVER brand and introduce new and exciting products to consumers.
We love Jerry’s story! For the last 10 years, Jerry worked as lead technician and field manager for Steve Sarafin… Steve is the owner of Window Genie of NW New Jersey. Steve opened his franchise in 2000 and has held the title of “sales leader” almost every year since… so what we’re saying is Jerry came from a very successful franchise under great leadership. We’re incredibly grateful that Steve was gracious enough to give an amazing, indispensable employee his blessing to branch out on his own.
Having seen first-hand the potential for growth, success and an attractive work-life balance, Jerry said he chose to branch out on his own so he could build a stable future for his family. “I worked for Window Genie’s top earning franchise location for 10 years; I learned from the best. While I had a great boss and enjoyed the job, I felt ready to be my own boss. Since getting married and having kids I wanted to find a way to have my own say in balancing work while still being able to be there for my wife and kids as much as possible. Being my own boss and working in a field I have a great deal of experience in allows me that opportunity. I’m grateful for everything I learned while working for Steve and hope to earn as much success as he did as a business owner.”
For Jerry, Window Genie represented a chance to live out his dream of being his own boss without the risks of going it alone. “The service industry is dear to me, and Window Genie’s stellar reputation in the field conveys a great deal of credibility,” said Jerry. “I knew that starting a business backed by the Window Genie name would let me get started on the right foot. Steve’s experience working with the franchise system was always positive, he assured me I would always receive the support I needed from not only the corporate team but fellow franchise partners. That makes a huge difference and has put my mind at ease. I’m excited to branch out on my own and see what I’m made of.”
When I went to college, I still worked full-time as a temp marketing assistant, as well as a freelance event planner. A few years in, I realized that college wasn't for me - I needed more hands on experience. I sought out mentors and learned business from the best, who in turn had me help their struggling business investments.
For the past 12 years, I have put my heart and soul into building businesses from every industry imaginable, from the obscure to the mainstream. Not only have I created many of my own, but I have helped over 100 entrepreneurs successfully build businesses that withstood the typical start-up failure rate. I couldn't imagine doing anything else!
For me being an entrepreneur was something I now know I was before I completely understood what the word was. As I became older, I began to understand a little more about what it meant. It was more than just a word to me. It was an identity. I started many different types of “businesses” everything from selling potato chips to customized necklaces, music CD’s to starting a nonprofit organization with one of my friends from high school to an editing business. The list goes on and on. So, when I came across the word entrepreneur and really delved into understanding what it meant, I felt at “home”. I started to study it even more voraciously than anything I had in the past and even devoted my Capstone project for my Masters Degree to study Sports Entrepreneurs and specifically creating a program called EXECUTE: The Sports Entrepreneur Playbook. For this project, I interviewed entrepreneurs and business owners in the sports industry and I found 10 universal traits that made up sports entrepreneurs. From there, I developed a program that anyone could use to improve their entrepreneurial skills and become a sports entrepreneur. Little did I know this project probably laid the foundation for CEO Blog Nation.
After I graduated, I started doing freelance writing for Patch, specifically having a column called the Entrepreneur’s Spotlight where I interviewed entrepreneurs and business owners in the Lake Ridge, Virginia area and wrote their story. It was during this time where I felt even more alive. Hearing the guts and boldness of these entrepreneurs and business owners was nothing short of inspirational. As I wrote more and more, I began to see that these stories weren’t really being told. While there were resources on the internet, it just wasn’t enough. I also noticed that when I would send out the published stories to the entrepreneurs and business owners they were so happy to send it out to their friends, families and business colleagues. It was as if they were yearning for a voice.
Unfortunately or fortunately, I tore my achilles tendon while playing basketball and I was forced to spend extended time in bed and it was there that the first of the blogs was born–Hearpreneur. Being unable to move around and talk with entrepreneurs and business owners for my Patch posts, I leveraged technology like HARO, Social Media, and Skype and was still able to tell stories and grow the blog. It was also then that I began understanding that people didn’t come to sites for 1 specific reason, to just hear stories, they came for multiple reasons and felt connected because of things like location, industries, gender, race, and purpose. It was there that the foundation for CEO Blog Nation was born and the idea behind it.
We’ve been growing ever since and we will continue to because at our core we have the heart of an entrepreneur and while we chose the name CEO which people often use for large companies, most of the entrepreneurs and business owners we have spoken with have a drive and a goal to grow and build their business to not necessarily be on the Fortune 500 but to change the world, create jobs, and build something awesome. We hope to capture that on our sites and celebrate entrepreneurs, startups and business owners.