This edition is identical to the 3rd edition Kindle Version in regard to the core contents. I decided to add this section to the May, 2012 revision because I felt it would be useful. I hope this is helpful.
When two people don’t know each other and they first meet, they talk, share things about themselves and connect with one another – in effect, establishing a bond or rapport. We are not face to face, but you’re reading my book, which means you were interested enough to part with your money to step into my world of insights and experiences. I thank you for your purchase and I hope that this book helps you in some meaningful way, either attitudinally, financially, or both. I will begin by telling you how my business journey began and what drove me to such extremes to figure out the world of business, self-employment, and jobs along the way.
My business journey began one day in 1987. I was a very young man of 22 years old, enlisted in the United States Air Force at the time. A year prior to this when I was 21, I became a teacher, an Air Force Instructor. Not the drill Sergeant kind that might first come to mind, but one teaching 128 electrical and mechanical tasks, specifically for our finest nuclear weapon system of the time. I had entered the world of teaching, counseling, managing people, time and activities for the first time in my young life. I luckily had excellent role models who taught me well and showed me from the ground up how to be an effective manager and instructor.
In a super-short period of time, I had excelled to the highest levels for someone of my short enlistment time; many never are chosen to be instructors, even though they have been enlisted or commissioned for a long time. It was an honor to be among these folks, but as I mastered my craft, I began to look around. I looked at rank, pay, and time-in-service as it pertained to my superiors. I saw there were limitations on pay and position that would limit me if I didn’t do something about it. The artic-like cold where I was stationed at then, and where I would have to move to if I changed locations, didn’t appeal to me long-term. I loved my job, but hated the cold and wasn’t impressed with the pay scale either. I decided to look at my options.
After evaluating many options that involved “staying in” the service, I decided to get out when my enlistment was up. I had heard my Uncle talk about business and owning his own corporation. This caught my interest to the point of wanting to study business to see what it was all about, to see if it was for me, or not for me.
I made the short trek to the base library on foot in knee deep snow with a wind chill of around minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit; typical for the base/area I was located. I began pouring over books in my off time, first on my own, then with a friend. My friend was interested in the subject as well. We would brain-storm day after day during our evening time off work, wearing out the seats in the booths of restaurants and coffee shops, and sometimes bars. Talk, research, brain-storming, and then we would try and try again. Our first adventure didn’t pan out. He had strained the relationship with his wife and his family needed him, so we went our separate ways with him moving to Connecticut and earning a drafting degree and I stayed in the South. My efforts did not stop. I pressed on.
I went on to meet dreamers who were broke and dreamers who were wealthy and successful, many of them. I learned from everyone along the way. I attended SBA (Small Business Administration) sponsored classes on business, marketing, taxes, and other topics, along with every other seminar or workshop I could afford and attend. I watched many people I knew over the next 25 years – some struggled and succeeded, some failed, some had a mixture of both successes and failures. The latter are the ones that learned the most. My family called me crazy, a fanatic, and a man obsessed with business – and to some degree they were right. I was obsessed, but mostly determined. Most of my relatives come from lifetime job backgrounds (back when there was such a thing) either in the private sector or government, so they just didn’t catch the entrepreneurial vision as I saw it. What they saw as crazy was really them viewing the personification of the kind of entrepreneurial spirit that built this country and made it great.
That vision and drive propelled me to pull out all the stops, be bold, sometimes too bold, and try anything and everything I thought would work in business. Jobs, to me, were simply a necessary evil, something to pay the bills while I started my next venture. I’ve never been one to feel any desire whatsoever to work for someone else. The only exception would be teaching. I have always been driven to work for myself, ever since I avidly read voluminous amounts of material at the base library, during those sub-zero desolate days.
I am not so presumptuous to think that I am “all that”, as the saying goes. I do bring to the table a large amount of experience learned through 28 years of trial and error, and now also, from formal education too. After 28 years of experiencing all these businesses, situations, failures and successes, I think I have something to say. I’m no Donald Trump by any stretch of the imagination, but I feel I have enough to share that would be beneficial to both young people starting their career and career changers of any age. Young entrepreneurs would be good candidates for this material as well.
I feel that instead of keeping all these experiences bottled up inside of me, I want to share them with others so that they may gain some benefit. Giving something back sounds so cliché’, but that’s the gist of it. I want to be helpful to others with this acquired knowledge by detailing it out in this and other books. The alternative is for a close knit group of friends to say “Boy, you’ve been though a lot. You should write a book.” And for me to reply: “Yep, sure have been through a lot”, and then not write the book to help others, essentially keeping it cooped up inside my head and vanish when I pass away, useful to no one else.
I’d rather be helpful now and through the years, by sharing my knowledge and experiences in the form of a book – the one you’re holding and other current and future books to come. This is my own way of giving back. There are other ways to help people in this world, but this is the small way I’ve chosen to be helpful and contribute. With that said, let’s go ahead and get started.
I approach the task of writing this book with a feeling of humbleness. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience firsthand more jobs, businesses, and business opportunities than anyone that I know personally. I later decided to study business and earned a degree in business management and graduated with honors. This gave me a unique perspective when combined with the decades of previous business and career experience prior to earning my degrees. I have done much soul searching, pondering, and reflecting on the lessons I have learned. I wish to share these with you in this book. I hope that I will reduce your stress and increase your productivity, thereby reducing the amount of trial and error in your career choices. It is my intention to reduce your learning curve, allowing more rapid progress in your chosen career and life. Armed with this information, you will make knowledgeable decisions with less of your time wasted on dead end paths and more time spent concentrating on the more productive opportunities. Come along with me on this journey and view the career and business world through my perspective of real world firsthand experience.
I feel you will benefit greatly from this unique hands-on point of view, fully benefiting from my hindsight before you make important choices. It is wise to look at the road ahead before traveling down it. I want you to consider this book as your map, steering and guiding you on your path with the benefit of these specific insights. I hope that by explaining how it really is inside a number of jobs and businesses that this knowledge will allow you to make less bad decisions and more correct ones. I will tell you the truth, the good, the bad, and the ugly just like it is. I hope you enjoy this book and experience a great career.
Starting Out or Changing Careers
As you begin your journey out in the world, you are essentially a blank slate. You must first get experience in order to understand how the world works. If you are just starting out in life, your experience is either little or none at all. This is why so many young people start down the wrong career path in life. They simply have not had the exposure that provides them with the experiences necessary to make intelligent, informed choices. Knowing the choices that you have will help ensure that you are on “a path” instead of wondering around blindly lost in the woods! This business of choosing is very important because every choice in life that you make, no matter how seemingly small and insignificant, has a ripple effect across your entire life! How do you discover your path? If you are young and just starting out, you have yet to discover your likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. If you are older and unsure of your current career path, what do you do? As a starting point, you must first determine your areas of strengths and weaknesses. This indicates a more “natural” direction for you as an individual. Also, wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to discover and understand your preferred learning style? The good news is that there is a way to determine these things even if you have never set foot inside a job in your life! I am not a huge fan of so called “career assessment” tests, but I am a fan of one specific test I discovered at University.
This test will enable you to achieve your goals in less time. It is “The Kolb Learning Style Inventory” and is located at http://www.haygroup.com on the web. It consists of 12 simple questions and a workbook, complete with charts and information so you will clearly understand and correctly interpret the results. This learning style inventory is like the road map that you need to carefully examine before traveling the career road of your life. It will reveal career areas of natural inclination and your preferred learning style. I suggest you start there, which will target your areas of greatest aptitude. If you are your older, in mid-life years, view this learning style inventory as if you were traveling on a journey and got lost. What do you do? You pull over onto the side of the road and look at the map to see how to correct your course, right? View this learning style inventory as a reliable map on your career life journey to correct your course. You need a course correction at times if you make wrong turns in life. It happens to the best of us. If you are just starting out in life, this is your road map to keep you moving in the right direction so you either don’t get lost or don’t stray too far from the correct path in life. If you don’t stray too far, it is easier to get back on track! Trust me; this book will save you time, money, and frustration. This will increase your happiness by making better career decisions. Whether you are just starting your career at a young age or whether you are middle aged changing careers, these decisions are extremely important. Your choices determine where you will be living, the people that you will meet, activities that you will be doing, whom you will marry, the kind of job or business that you will have, and ultimately your own happiness!
Before we go any further, let me address something that happens a great deal. I want you to know this up front before we continue deeper into this book so you can take this into consideration as you move along. Job hopping, serial entrepreneur, and start-up junkie is how many employers refer to a person who has had many jobs, constantly looks for business opportunities as a preference to jobs, and one who loves to do start-up businesses.
What happens when a potential employer is looking at your resume’ and mentally places you in one or more of these categories? With the exception of sales jobs, they toss your resume’ in the trash can very quickly. This brings us to an initial dilemma. Do you start-up businesses or do you focus solely on the job route. On one hand, if you pursue your entrepreneurial passions and later see the need to switch to a job, the employers most likely will not want you, except for sales organizations. They are afraid to hire you, afraid of wasting large amounts of training dollars only to have you start your own gig again very soon and quit your job.
The same goes for anyone who has a serial entrepreneurial history, a job hopping history, or a history of start-ups. Most employers will not touch you with a 10 foot pole. You have effectively painted yourself into a corner. The good news is that there is a way to extricate you from this unemployable corner and that is through personal contacts. If this is your situation now or if you end up painting yourself into this unemployable corner, use the techniques in the “You’re Hired!” section toward the end of this book. You will need people on your side who know you and the kind of work you do and I go to great lengths to explain how to do this in the “You’re Hired!” chapter.
Additionally, before you go back to the job route, do some soul searching. If you are not going to stay at your job and are going to go right back to the entrepreneurship path (full-time) in a few months, then don’t step back into the area of having a full-time job only to flip flop back and forth. Your contact that got you hired will not appreciate it and they may ruin your name and reputation with all the other employment decision makers in their circle of influence. Heavily consider these issues in the Combining Jobs and Businesses section. I want you to gain maximum benefit from this book.
Now that you get a sense of how your choices affect your life, let’s pause and examine what your choices actually are, both when you are first starting out, and when you are older making a career change. Keep the results from your Kolb Learning Style Inventory close at hand as you proceed from this point forward in the book, reexamining it as you move along. Let’s first explore a description of some broad categories. We will later narrow these descriptions and then go into more detail on each one.
To purchase the paperback, follow the link below. A link to the Kindle Version is available from this Amazon page. Enjoy.