My story as an entrepreneur begins when I was just a 16 year old boy, on June 9th, 1990
A Saturday – while walking through the Portland Saturday Market (an outdoor festival in Portland Oregon) – and I was watching everyday, normal people generate CASH-FLOW by selling handcrafts. It was exciting!
And I can remember the moment it happened for me like it was yesterday…
It was when I saw a vendor sell $150 worth of jewelry to a single customer, and a light-bulb suddenly went off in my head… and I decided to jump into the game and start my own business.
I was between my sophomore and junior year in high school ad I partnered up with a friend and opened up my first little bead shop. Sure enough, two years later, by the time we graduated high school, and after many hard-won business lessons, we had 3 locations and 6 successful weekedn bead shops.
And you could say that experience was really the INFLECTION POINT in a young man’s life… when I went from THINKING to KNOWING I could be succesful in business.
And as you might guess, I was ruined for a "straight job" forever from that point on..
I studied Entrepreneurship in college, but frankly what I learned from the experiences of running my bead shops those two years, (and from the
businesses I started in college) were FAR more valuable to me in terms of the actual “real world” practice of running a company.
In my twenties I moved to Silicon Valley to seek my fame and fortune as they say, and armed with the valuable lessons from my humble beginnings as a bead shop owner, I went on to start several software and technology companies.
In fact, I sold one of my companies, Global Courier Travel, to a large techanology company at the age of 25. And while that first business wasn’t as successful as the standards to which I hold myself today, it was still pretty exciting, and it paid for my undergraduate studies.
I then went on to spend the next 14 years, GROWING and SCALING businesses in software, health, private equity and consulting. And it was a very successful time, and I even was involved in an IPO and several acquisitions.
So in 2007 I started my own private equity fund, South Fork, and we would buy businesses… grow them, make them more profitable, and then sell them.
During that time I also started to do high level consulting – showing business owners how to use simple business models to dramatically grow and SCALE their businesses, and help them get maximum value for their business if they decided to SELL it. (My “sweet spot” was helping companies go from about $5 million in sales to $50 million in sales.)