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Old 10-11-2005, 08:43 AM
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PMLAWN PMLAWN is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Mooresville NC
Posts: 3,569
From birth to mower

This was written to answer another thread but I felt it was good for this forum so I transferred it here. That is why it sounds like I am answering some one. He asked what I did in a previous life.

"previous life" Ahh- not past or future or even present , BUT one.
Always look at the big picture. Never stop one thing just to start another but look to grow each and use resources of all to create a life of fun and excitement. And always stay in school!!! Never stop learning!!

I was born in Chicago (jump ahead) At age 13 I took dads 21" mower and tied it to the back of my bike, (with the handle tied tight under the seat so it rode on the back tires only) put a broom on the mower and started to cut grass with a friend. The profit margins were great till Dad said I had to buy my own gas. Than they were just really-really good.
Anyway, out of high school (during which time I had the mandatory job at a fast food restaurant) went to body and fender school and started to paint cars. next year went to community collage for business and marketing.
Than to Denver to go to school for auto and truck repair.
Worked as a mechanic for 2 years and left a job-Had a brand new truck with 48 payments- Sitting at a red light thinking that I needed to make money to pay for this thing. Looked at a home improvement store and they had a help wanted sign so I stopped in. "Yes I can do sales"
For 15 years I worked with this company doing Sales, project management, ran the service dept.,and we started a factory to build doors and storm shutters. Many hours of sales training and business courses.
The owner, which is now a very close friend) had a friend that was involved in Real Estate. Got a license and started to sell that also. This was pre 86, (tax laws changed big time in 86 for you young guys) and we were doing apt. buyouts and condo conversions. This all worked well together as Home improvement and real estate runs side by side.
Wife has her CPA and was in accounting. When she got her MBA it was with a real estate basis. This put her into a Facilities Management company. (more on that later) One of her jobs was to look into new computer programs for contact management. During that year long process she found she liked the computer field and made the jump
Lotus was a big part of her work and they have a huge conference down in Disney each winter. We would drive down in the motorhome and stay in the campground while she went to the conference and play with Micky at night. 80* temps compared to 0* in Chicago. Why go back. Well my Uncle lives in Charlotte on Lake Norman and we stopped on the way home one year and never left. Now live in Mooresville NC. This was in 96. My wife was doing a lot of travel and the kids were 5 and 6 so I started to play mister mom. Did side jobs and some handyman work to fill the time. Closed the corp. in Chicago and sold some real estate and started over down here. Got the RE license in NC and started to find homes to rent and flip.
They have a great Community Collage close by and started to do the contractors course. Also joined a Real estate Investors Association that has a wealth of training available.
Got a little side tract ed when a Nascar Busch team asked if I could pull a showcar. The owner of the team know that I had sales experience and wanted someone that knew cars and could tow and could sell the team.
Talk about dream job. Drive around the country with a race car. Go to tool shows as the car was sponsored by Channel Lock. Talk to people about tools , cars and racing, and get PAID too. Did that for about 2 years till the sponsor went elsewhere.
Anyways- we had a few rentals, still doing side jobs, had built my deck and pond around our house and there was little left to do at home when my wife lost her job, Company just decided to not do that type of work anymore.
She went out on her own and really started to make good money (pre 9-11)
The schools around here were in bad shape because of the growth and we wanted to do some travel so we pulled the kids out and rented out the house, jumped into the motor home and drove around the country for two years. Great fun and learned a lot. I homeschooled the kids as we traveled and my wife worked as a consultant from "home" or on site (which we could follow her to). This worked till the computer and tech stuff crashed and the money was no longer any good. At this time we were in Texas in a State Park, working as Campground Hosts. Worked at restoring some historic buildings and built a few displays for a Nature Center. Also put time in helping with grounds maintenance. This is when the landscape maintenance light was re lit. Money was getting tight so we went home and when the tenant moved out we moved back in. The kids were now older so I had a lot more time to work. I started to advertise what I did a little more and bought a mower to add some other service to the plate. Worked a lot with Real Estate agents to help with listings both in building service and landscape.For about 2 years did it myself and with a helper. 3rd year i got 2 more trucks and started crews out just doing maintenance. As a side note since we moved to NC I have been working part time as a sales rep for a company that sells printing equipment.
The time pressure was getting heavy. My wife went back to Facilities Management and had to work out side of the home. I started to run thin on time and I believe that I started to put off some of the business day to day stuff.
If I had to do it over again I would grow much slower and get the right people in place to run day to day opers. I had to drop a route and retool a little but will be fine in the end.
But each business that I own has to pay its own way. Each house has got to stand on its own as far a profits. And your business has got to do the same. Tools are only payed for by the business. All time put into the business has got to be bought by the business.
No rob Peter to pay Paul.
The other lesson ( if there is one) is to #1 communicate. My wifes new job is in direct result of keeping in touch with the old one and its people. The job also gives my company resources and leads, (I can not get any direct business because of conflict of interest but I stay abreast of thinks going on in commercial real estate)

#2 is to network as the more people you know and the more people that know you and what you do the better life will be.

#3 is to keep learning at all times Always move forward in know age and increase what it is you can do. People make investments in stocks and real estate for the future but will never go back to school. Learning is an investment in your mind.
Buy business books and sales tapes and read and listen.
Never defend what your doing now as the only right way or best way but always be open to learning new ways

Build you business to run on auto pilot so it will make you money and you can go on to something else and grow.

Thanks for taking the time to read it all and good luck in business.
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