Mon, 18 August 2014
It was 2002 but it seems like it was just yesterday. Ace Chapman was 22 and just the thought of what the next 40 years would look like terrified him. He had tried some business ideas here and there and nothing seemed to work. It seemed nearly impossible to get ahead. He had little savings, student loans, and credit card debt. He was so sick of being broke and not being able to afford to finer things in life or the freedom to follow his passion for travel and connecting with people.
A college dropout, Ace knew he would hit a glass ceiling in the corporate world. Yet he had neither the time or money to afford more education. Talking to my his workers nearing retirement, Ace saw his future as retiring on a little more than social security. It was obvious speaking to them that despite all the hype around retirement plan they weren’t working in reality.
It was a pathetic existence spending so much of his life doing something he didn’t enjoy.
Well, eventually he was fired and he had a choice. Either go back and find another job or shoot for something bigger…freedom. Ace didn’t realize then how drastically different his life was going to be depending on that decision but he was so happy he made the decision he did. Ace went for something bigger and honestly he had no idea what he was doing.
He made some sacrifices, began investing in real estate, and realized he had a knack for it. Pretty soon Ace was making more money than he was at his previous job. He went on to buy a franchise business and put up billboards all over the city saying, “We Buy Ugly Houses.” He grew that business to be his first million dollar business and sold it.
Ace then took some of the money and bought two retail stores, one in Chattanooga and another out of state. At one point each business was doing over $1 million dollars in revenue. Before he knew it, he had become a true entrepreneur.
But it was nothing like he envisioned.
Ace was working for himself but he was working even harder than he was at his previous employer – 80 plus hours a week! Dealing with more headaches each week and putting out fires constantly. The money was good, and life was much better than being an employee, but it was not the life he had envisioned.
He took a little time off, traveled and just collected monthly checks from financing the sell of my different businesses. Ace had the opportunity to do some consulting and build a relationship with a certified billionaire. It was then that he realized that the wealthiest people in America were not wealthy because of cash flow from their business but from growing a business and either selling it all to a a single buyer or portions via the stock market to shareholders.
The secret to me has always been about providing more value than you take. Compensation is just a bi-product of your value to society. Your income is really defined by your value to society. Its pretty simple. Learn more skills, both left brain technical like Google and also right brain, less technical stuff like leadership skills and being able to inspire people. To be able to look someone in the eye and tell them you can help them get where they want to go and know that you can is one of the most powerful things you can provide the world.