Posted on 03/24/2017 at 03:13 PM by Dawn Gee
My mom still owns part of the family farm where she was raised. Her parents were born in the U.S., but they had a German and Polish background. They spent much of their lives working on the farm. They are all hard working people, and I think that’s carried down from generation to generation in my family. Just like my dad, my mom is also 85. She remembers how she would horse the wagon during the tail end of the depression. When she was a kid, a lot of the farm equipment was still pulled by a horse.
There are hard working people on both my mom’s side and dad’s side of the family. I always tell my mom, “I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but the one thing we got from you was our good work ethic.” Her dad lost a leg in a farming accident and he had a wooden leg that went all the way up to his waist. I remember going to the summer kitchen in their family farm and noticing that he always had a spare wooden leg in the back room. Being the kids we were, we would make him take off his leg for us, and even take sticks and tap him on his wooden leg. He was a pretty cool guy.
My dad was a roofing contractor with some rental properties on the side. My brother took over his business and he has rental properties, too. I went into business for myself in 1990 starting from scratch. People in my networking group who are starting up their own business often ask me how I got my loan from the bank. The answer is, there was never a loan. There was only about $2,500 between me and my wife when we got married. But I had a strong work ethic, I wasn’t afraid to get my hands dirty, and I was able to work long hours. I learned how important it was to save and reinvest into the business.
My parents always knew how to save, invest their money, and not live beyond their means. I also learned that you shouldn’t wait for everything to be perfect before making a move. If you wait for everything to line up, you’re going to miss too many opportunities. I’m of the mindset of if I have to clean up some messes along the way because I pulled the trigger too quickly, well hey, at least I took the shot. (I should mention that Dawn has cleaned up quite a few messes, too.) But in the end, it’s all worked out well. This mindset applies both in the working world and in personal life.
This is my background, and it’s what shaped me as a person. I grew up with everyone in my family being self-employed. When people ask me if it was scary when I quit my job, I really didn’t know any better. Wasn’t it risky? To me, risky is not taking that first step. Once you get the procedures and knowledge in place, it’s a matter of getting back on the horse and doing it all over again.