My career started much like yalls probably did. You pushed, or rode if you were lucky, a lawn mower through your neighborhood cutting yards for $20 and you were 15. You built up your client base, bought new equipment, bought your first car or truck and studied your trade as your skills grew around you. I was that kid once pushing the lawn mower up an down the street and only 3 years later and still a senior in highschool I was competing with all the other major landscape companies in the atlanta area. I owned your own company, I had money, everyone gave me respect and I was basically the s h i t, but I was never never happy....why?.. May 2006 I graduated from Lassiter Highschool with a 3.0 gpa, honors club entreprenuer of the year, and to Atlanta, ACG's (association for corporate growth) Youth Entreprenuer of the Year. http://www.acg.org/atlanta/awards/youth/. I'm posting this post to show you share with you a few things i learned about the business and to show you how I almost lost everything I owned. I started landscaping to make money for my rock band. Usual story parents didnt have much money, scrounging to pay the bills and I happened to live in East Cobb, the rich side of town. My friend were all driving tahoes at 16 and the futureof me behind the wheel of a motor vehicle seemed light years away. But then of course theres a willingness and dedication we develop to achieve the things we dream for. All i wanted was a Dodge ram pick up. Needless to say after hard work and a lil bit of labor I was the next jo shmo landscaper. Im going to jump forward quite a bit cause I doubt anyone really reads all this anyway. Pretty soon I was giving up time spending with friends to work. I was hanging out at lawn mower shops and researching on lawnsite.com. Landscaping was my life. Friends and family were amazed when after 1 year of serious business i was driving a 99 dodge 2500 riding a zmaster 2 trailers blah blah blah but a part of me still wasnt happy and thats when depression hit. end of senior year i win $5,000 cash along with the ACG youth award, multiple awards from school and i was graduating. Where had all my high school life gone? It was like yea i got my business and some money but what happend to my life. everyone says highschol was the best time of there life, sex drugs and partying and music right? I could count on one hand all the friends i had left when i started school out with way more. People saw me and were inspired and thought I had it all, but no one knew tha I would have traded it to be in their position. anyway i got depresssed. i did win a $34,450 bid however. ill post the pictures on the next post. i started drinking heavily. no sooner had all this happened then i get a DUI and i guess heres the worst part, i was sitting in jail with no one to call. i bailed my self out $2700, got a lawyer $2,500, did 60 hours community service, paid a total of $800 for evaluations, dui school, and driving school, and lost my license for 1 year. $6,000 later i owned a business wtih no license and 2 illegal mexicans and an ass load of equipment. i fired my workers, i sold my company with over 50 clients and all equipment for $10,000 and enlisted in the marines but i wasnt accpeted because of a medical condition leaving me still at my parents house with nothing left, not in school, no business, no lawn mowers, nothing. thats when the fight began. its been almost 5 months since all of this and i've learned many many invaluable lessons. Since then I started back up a new company, watched the company i sold fall apart due to a lack in quality control and currently today stand still with no license but a dedicated partner, equip for 1 crew and most of my clients back. I've been working 10 hour days 7 days a week since my depression and its starting to wear off especially since i got my new puppy! i was able to move out from my parents house and now im finally on my own and stable. Theres a few things I want all you new entreprenuers to think abut before starting your new company. Think about what makes you happy and what people surround ur life right nwo that really mean a lot to you. NEVER let business get in teh way of friends or family, EVER. Money is great but family lasts forever. and second landscaping is NOT a competitive business. It's an artisitic business in which us landscapers get the chance to be a force of nature and change the way our earth was originally shaped. If you want to grow in this industry, make a friend. I researched other companies work while building my company and idolized their leaders. Those are hte people you need to work with they can teach you so much from experience alone. thats all i have to say for now. just work your ass off, TREAT YOUR EMPLOYEES happy and work WITH others rather tahn against. Theres always going to be work for landscapers and theres enough to go around.