When I graduated from Northeastern my plan was to follow the roadmap laid out by my dad, which was to work in corporate America, like all of my friends, and start climbing the corporate ladder. As I started looking at jobs I started thinking about how I’m afraid of heights and climbing a crowded corporate ladder wasn’t really my thing. Instead I went into door to door sales, which was life changing. From there I started my first company called MyBike (google it). I had no health benefits (ask Jon Farwell about my forearm muscle calcifying after getting bit by a bug), no salary (lived off of credit cards and decimated my credit), and unlimited unpaid vacation time.
All my friends who graduated with me entered the workforce. They had health benefits, a stable salary, and paid vacation. The grass was definitely greener on their side of the hill.
To make ends meet I did what ever I could for Glen with Lil Dogs. I worked as many hours as humanly possible with Viking Sports and I took on as many private training clients as my calendar could handle. I was easily working 7 days a week 12 plus hours a day. I had no responsibilities, so I had no problem working myself to the bone. My friends who had their stable jobs were really living the dream with weekends off, a day that ended at 5pm, and discretionary income to buy things. The green grass was getting even greener on their side of the hill.
Then things slowly started changing.
It started when I was talking to Mike, the guy who started Viking Sports, one day about how he was able to support a family from a company he started. He said success didn’t happen all at once, but very slowly over time. He compared it to watching a kid get older. When you see your kid everyday, you can’t tell that they’re growing. But when you look at pictures you can see the changes and then those changes can impact you. Like your kid can feed themselves or ride a bike their own or stay home along. Growing a business FEELS exactly the same way.
The first bit of change to happen was meeting my wife. I was 27 and had less than nothing, just a wallet full of maxed out credit cards. I went to buy an engagement ring and realized I was less poor than I thought. We got married and were planning a honeymoon, which meant I needed someone to run MyBike and an office for them to work. Enter Steve Mahoney and the Distillery building in South Boston. MyBike was less poor than I thought because I was able to hire someone and to pay rent. After the wedding the kids started coming, so we needed a house. I told my wife to be prepared for us to never get a mortgage because I was $1,000,000 in credit card debt, but Craig Barber came through and somehow we were able to buy our first house. And that’s how life started playing out. Things I never thought that would be possible were becoming possible.
At some point the 12 hour work days 7 days a week started changing to a more regular work schedule. At some point I was able to have a stable salary. At some point I had the paid vacations. I’m not sure when, but at some point the grass on my side of the hill was just as green as the other side.
Mike was absolutely right. Success does indeed happen slowly.