I want to let you into my mind and how I think about my success in business - and where that success and motivation come from. My hope is that you can be inspired by my story, and my journey from a nice corporate job, to a life I never thought possible. It wasn't easy, it didn't come without struggle, without long hours, etc.
My upbringing was tough. My dad was an alcoholic until I was 15 years old - and it put my family in some tough situations. (Click or tap here to watch the video of my story - it's much more powerful than I can put into words).
From the start, I knew I didn't want a broken family. I knew I didn't want to be like my dad. His business was suffering, he didn't have my mom to help him. Because of this, and my past, I have something in me that I just put my head down and got to work.
I did pretty well in high school and college - by the end of college, I was just ready to be done studying. I had put my head in the books to escape from my real life. I got a job as an energy conservation engineer. One of our first projects was at an elementary school, and I was counting light bulbs. I thought, surely I didn't study my ass off just to count light bulbs.
That was my first time I had thought, there must be more to life than working a job. I liked certain parts of my job, and eventually got a job on wall street. A normal week consists of 168 hours - and there was a week where I spent 138 of them at that office.
I remember getting a bonus of 48,000, and a VP two levels above me got a bonus of 7 figures. The day before the check cleared, I quit.
The guy above me who got the bonus, here's the thing about him: He was 150lbs overweight. He LIVED in the office. He had no relationships, he would give anything to make money. He had no freedoms.
Eventually, I got recruited to Charlotte by a guy who had just bought a second house. He gave his whole life to a career. Just enough to where it was about to get fun, and he had some money in the bank, and one day he was diagnosed with cancer. Six months later, he died. Just like that.
All these things got to me. Engineering wasn't my deal. Wall Street wasn't the thing. I thought I had my dream job, and then I saw this guy who had what I wanted, just die.
Around that time I started investing in Real Estate here in Charlotte. I met a guy named Thomas, and together we bought some properties and got to know each other. In early 2007 I ended up joining his firm. I ended up leaving my cozy 6 figure job in order to get into real estate. In that 9 months that I was with him, I outsold everyone in his office.
When I saw that Thomas was right there with me doing deals, and his team was waiting on scraps, I knew that I wanted to do something different. I knew that I needed to be a true business owner and have the freedom I needed.
Every one of my experiences brings me to the same conclusion - a business is meant to serve you, not the other way around.