From Gas Engineer to Successful Business Owner – My Rocky Journey

Everyone thought I was mad. Even my Grandmother looked up at me from her deathbed and said “Don’t do it!” the day that I announced that I was going to leave my well paid job as a gas service engineer to start my own business.

For years I had dreamed of starting my own business and now I had taken action (and a massive loan from the bank) and opened up a convenience store and post office. I figured that people always need to eat and therefore opening a shop selling food was a guarantee for success.

Did I enjoy overnight success? NO.

The reality was that I ended up working 18 hours a day, seven days a week for 9 months, sacrificing valuable time with my young family in the process, before finally things started to improve. I went on to open another two stores and won many national competitions including an all expenses paid trip to New York sponsored by Sir Richard Branson.

I thought that I had finally cracked it. Life was good, or so I thought. Then a Superstore opened up nearby and my landlord also opened up a convenience store next door to me. Suddenly my sales dropped.

How did I survive?

I looked for new ways to make money in my stores. I added new lines and introduced more promotions and slowly my customers returned to my store and life was good again.

I then decided to embark on a new adventure-namely building my dream home. I bought a field that had planning permission and split it into five plots.I sold four of the plots almost immediately and kept a plot for myself. The revenue that I made from selling the other plots paid for the infrastructure and towards the cost of building my dream home.

As I was fortunate enough to have good staff to run my stores for me whilst I project managed the building of my house, I was able to process my paperwork from my home office. I began to enjoy not having to travel daily back and forth to my businesses and this got me thinking about working from home permanently.

Not being one to drag my feet I sold my retail stores and started my own construction and development company that I ran from home. My business specialised in buying and selling land and project managing building dream homes for others. This became a successful business very quickly and again life was good. However just at that time the recession came and the demand for wanting to buy land and build houses decreased dramatically. This was a big shock and a massive worry for me as I still had outstanding business loans to pay, staff to provide work for as well as a family to feed. I needed to act fast. I desperately needed to find a way to make more money.

I quickly diversified my business to concentrate more on smaller building works like extensions, loft conversions and conservatories. This took a little time as I needed to rebrand the company to focus more on building works. However once I had tried and tested and found the best marketing methods my company went from strength to strength.

That was until three customers in succession took advantage of my good nature and did not pay for the work that I had carried out for them, due to them running out of money. This was a very stressful time as it resulted in lengthy, costly legal proceedings to recover monies due to me which caused massive cash flow problems within my business.

This is a major downfall for many bricks and mortar businesses especially as you have to outlay lots of capital for materials and labour before you receive payment from the customer. Many businesses have then sadly gone into administration when customers have then failed to pay for the goods and services provided.

Fortunately I was able to survive but it made be re evaluate what I wanted from life.

I knew for sure that I definitely wanted to still run a business. It was what I had done successfully for over twenty years, but I began to look into other opportunities. I still wanted to run a business from home, which in effect was what I was already doing with my construction company, but without the responsibility that the bricks and mortar business provided, namely having staff to find work for and customers delaying in paying for their goods.

That’s when I began to look into opportunities for online businesses. As an established successful businessman I quickly realised that this type of business could provide me with the perfect balance that I needed in my life.

I would still be my own boss, I could still work from home but with this type of business there was a huge global audience to market to and better still they would pay for their goods in advance and the only staff I needed to recruit was my wife.

Julie, my wife had never been that active in running my bricks and mortar businesses but she was very excited about embarking on an online business together especially as this meant that she could work from home around the needs of our young children…Something that she could not have done with our bricks and mortar businesses as the working hours were dictated by customer and supplier needs.

So have I finally found the best successful business? I will not lie, even online businesses have their trying times, especially with Google constantly changing the rules and with trying to keep up with the latest technology and marketing, but I have to say that, hand on heart,my online business has provided my wife and I with the best work/ life balance possible. It allows us to attend every school concert and sports day and every other special family event that we would otherwise have had to miss, if we were working for someone else. It has even enabled us to be able to have a gorgeous cockapoo puppy.

However, as with any business opportunity it is very important to research and find the best online businesses available. You will need to find a product that will be easy to market and sell and if you choose to become an affiliate you will need to ensure that you choose a company that will offer the highest rewards for your effort.

You do not need to have any exceptional qualities to create a successful business. I certainly had no business experience when I started out in business, but what I had was dream and a determination to provide the best that I could for myself and my family.

Even though I earned a good salary when I worked as a gas engineer, I l knew that the lifestyle that I could create for my family was governed by the capped salary that I could earn. I knew that if I wanted to fulfil my dreams and ambitions that I needed to take action and to take risks to earn more money.

I am so glad that I took action and that I did not quit when I encountered difficulties and hardships.

Any mistakes that I made along the way were merely treated as temporary hurdles on the road to success.

After all most successful people have encountered difficulties along the way including successful entrepreneurs like Sir Richard Branson and Simon Cowell. So I regard myself as being in good company with mistakes that I have made.

The setbacks that I did encounter have actually helped me enormously within my online business and have enabled me to share with others the best ways to start a business. People now actually appreciate my good nature with advice that I offer them to change their lives for the better, rather than taking advantage of it, as happened with my bricks and mortar business.

To close, even though my journey from gas engineer to successful business owner has been rocky I would not change a thing, as it has ultimately led to me creating the life of my dreams.

Secret – Successful Business Teams Are Not Built Playing Golf

When I used to work in corporate America we used to have team building exercises during our meetings. These exercises were considered to be so important by upper management that they were mandated into every meeting. The goal was to bring the teams together so that they executed the plans with a sense of purpose; the team would rise or fall as a collective.

In my experience the team building exercises usually consisted of golf, bowling, or another event that was a “team event” in name only. The sports chosen were usually embraced by an enthusiastic few leaving the others bored and unengaged. The end result was a shared experience, but not one that built a strong team ready to seize opportunities and overcome obstacles. Instead a team in name only was built.

The Secret Trait To Successful Business Teams
Successful teams – in sports, business, the military, etc. – share one common trait or gene: they care about the other teammates’ success. Individuals who are part of successful teams know that their goals, desires, and dreams can only be achieved if they help the rest of team meet succeed. Everyone possess this gene/trait inside of himself or herself, it just has to be tapped.

How successful teams achieve this bond is through a shared collective experience. This collective experience is one that demonstrates to the other teammates the strengths and weaknesses of the individual members. Typically everyone starts at the same level of knowledge – there are no ringers – and the team faces unknown challenges that they must work together to overcome. In the military it is the initial training and common shared misery of the mud, lack of sleep, and obstacle course.

3 Ways You Can Tap The Common Experience Gene
In business your team most likely is not going to go running through mud or climbing over obstacles to get their shared experience. Then again… why not?

Golf does not build a successful team. In fact most individual skills – while learned and/or experienced in a group setting – do not build successful teams. Only events that make individuals work together, learn together, and overcome obstacles together will build stronger teams.

So the next time you are planning a team building exercise for your business meeting, why not give these a try:

  • Learn A New Skill. Whatever you choose as the new skill should have practical applications and if done improperly real consequences. A great one is learning how cook as a group, which involves communication, delegation, teamwork, chain of command, and listening skills. Sure you might have a budding gourmet chef in your team, but the reality is that most people only know the basics. The goal is to cook a meal for everyone. Get it right and you’ve got good food. Get it wrong and well…

  • Overcome A Problem With Many Possible Answers. These exercises usually have a stated goal and limited resources to achieve it. While there might be one best solution, there are many other solutions that could possibly work. A particular exercise I enjoyed was building a boat out of cardboard and duct tape. To be successful the boat had to pass a strength test on dry land first and then go around a buoy and back in the water: all under a time pressure. Teams that prioritized tasks, discussed possible designs, and staffed their boats correctly made it. Others that did not sank.

  • Scavenger Hunt. Break your team into smaller groups making sure to split apart any cliques you may have. What makes this a great exercise is the element of time pressure, getting everything correct on the list, and great stories everyone will have when they return about their successes and failures during their hunt. If built correctly a great scavenger hunt will have goals that will force everyone to stretch him or herself to achieve them.

Put Down The Clubs And Build Teams
What is great about the exercises above is they require your teams to work together to succeed. One person alone cannot do everything. Success means that everyone has to work together as a team.

While you may learn more about the three other chaps in your foursome on the golf course, in the end it is the individual who must swing the club or make the putt. It does not take a team to overcome the sand trap. Therefore the opportunity to build that common bond, to unlock the gene that brings teams together, is never to be had on the golf course.

What are some other events you have done that help build stronger teams?

What Makes Successful Business People?

There are many successful people out there in business. But only a handful of them are truly successful business people. As a matter of fact, successful business people are found to have similar skills, beliefs, and traits. And they are in a class all of their own.

Successful business people must have confidence in themselves. They must have clear goals on what they want to accomplish in their business. They must be prepared and dedicated towards their work, with an ongoing willingness to tackle the challenges that await them day after day. Successful business people set very big goals for themselves. They look forward to going the extra mile to achieve massive success in anything they pursue. They are always on top of their game, and they keep a sharp eye on all aspects of their business model. Instead of being satisfied with a little, they want more.

There are many attributes that successful business people have. But one that stands out is not having a true comfort zone. They don’t believe in just settling for the norm. Their expectations are so high, that they believe to always keep pushing forward in their endeavors. Money does not motivate them. It is the satisfaction of accomplishing their goals that they set out to get.

Successful people look towards the future in business and life. They don’t dwell in the past and wonder if they should have done things differently. Instead, they look onward and figure out what is next on their agenda. They believe that success only comes to those who truly want it. And they will stop at nothing to get it.

Overall, there might be many people with success, but there are only a few successful people. They have goals and they see that they are met. They believe in themselves and they will keep pushing forward to make sure their business is a success.