“Sometimes when circumstances or disappointments bump you off track, it’s the beginning of an even bigger dream coming true, that could not have come true on the track you were on. Always, always” – The Universe (Mike Dooley at tut.com)
So I left off in ‘chapter 6’ that I had just left my safe job at the Federal government for self-employment while I had 2 girls under the age of 2. I partnered up with 2 other self-employed guys to work together and help each other while also doing my own thing. Then one of the partners picked out a few simple things that I did and had a problem with them – so we split, and I suddenly had a lot less income.
I can tell you that I second-guessed myself a lot. I had relatives that told me to run back to the federal job. Others told me to go get a real job, which I actually considered but the post-9/11 economy was pretty bad.
At first I started to apply to some private sector jobs. Luckily they basically ignored my resumes, probably because of the economy. Had I just gone to some employer for safety, I’m pretty sure that I would have been unhappy again.
So I went about my business but for several months I complained about not having enough income, clients, and I focused on what I didn’t have, and I frankly was sitting on the sidelines, so to speak, and I didn’t go out and attack my opportunities. I was waiting for things to happen, I wasn’t making them happen.
Then one day, something just clicked inside of me….it was almost like I heard a voice inside my head that said, “Jim, just go out and do what you know you should do.” It sounds silly I know, but I did just that. I visited more clients, communicated more, and I did the best that I could. I used some credit cards to finance some of it and I tried to have fun with the clients and let my personality come through.
But I had a vision of sorts. I knew what I wanted to do. I kept working my own and my one remaining partner and building my own thing. I became really focused on servicing existing people and finding new clients. It was working. I focused on what I had and focused one what I wanted and what action I could do today to get to that ‘vision’. I just simply went out and took action. I failed sometimes but I succeeded a lot more.
While I was out there taking action, good things kept happening. I acquired another very good product line to represent – it eventually became my main line and it was a very good thing for me, I enjoyed the people and the product.
Again, I’d adjust the vision a little and I kept going for it. I had some challenges, sure, but things kept moving ahead, kept growing. I worked with a large national account, which became one of the larger accounts for the manufacturer too, and it generated lots of business.
Continuing to focus on the right things, on taking action, helping others, and sometimes just showing up, I won their #1 Vendor award – this was compared to all of their local and national vendors – anything that might be used to build or remodel a home – pretty cool!
Then, while my focus was just on doing well in that field, doing better, growing it, and keeping an eye on my ‘vision’, I got a call from a friend of a friend…..
…he had heard about my growing success, my award, my activity. He was in banking and needed someone at a large regional bank that could serve people, that was smart, that could deal with clients, branch personnel, business owners, talk numbers, and sell. I told him I knew nothing about banking, he said he would train me. I told him that I sold cabinets – he pointed out that I had my MBA and financial training in money laundering and other things from the Department of Justice…..
….so, after much contemplation, I left the world of self-employment and went to a large bank to work……