Everyone experiences ups and downs as an entrepreneur. Let me quickly explain a few recent setbacks I’ve had trying to grow my companies, in hopes that you can relate. Keep in mind, this is a long and bumpy road, so I’m thankful for all the entrepreneurs and everyone reading this.
For those of you who know me, like really know me, then you know how I feel about entrepreneurship and what it means to me.
Being an entrepreneur has been popularized by the media and influencers like #GaryVee and Tai Lopez. However, they and I both know what it really means to be an entrepreneur. Just because you have a startup or great idea does not mean you’re an entrepreneur. Those people are taking away from the true meaning. To me, it’s more of a lifestyle than anything. We don’t work a 9-5. This is a 24/7 struggle. We eat, sleep and breathe our business, and much of the time without the first two, because at the end of the day, we have nobody to point fingers at except for ourselves.
If you follow me on social media (mainly Facebook) then you know I live a pretty ridiculous lifestyle: traveling, visiting friends, going to festivals, and eating tacos. Those are some serious perks of being an entrepreneur.
Many of you have jobs and a work-life balance. To me, to us, there is no balance. We thrive in the chaos that is work, that is life. They are two in the same. This isn’t work to me, this is life. I wake up every day getting to do what I love. For me there’s nothing else. Entrepreneurship is my oxygen. Without this I cannot breathe, I cannot live. When’s the last time you felt that way about something? If you were to lose your job tomorrow what would you do? Get another one?
Not many of you know my story, but I’ve always been an entrepreneur. Just ask my younger sisters how I was hustling baseball cards, Pokemon cards as a kid and selling bottled water when I was just 8 years old to construction workers on my block, It’s in my blood. But it wasn't easy, I mean when is life ever easy right? I had alot to overcome as a highschool drop out in 2007 but that didn't stop me as my vision was beyond the traditional school system. Don't get me wrong, education is key to the future and fundamental to our society progressing every day, but school isn't for everyone. Maybe it had to be because of my upbringing, how my parents divorce really impacted my childhood and how resources weren't available, well let me clarify, they are many resources out there but we weren't introduced or even educated on. Yes, knowing what I know now can be a excuse looking back but everyone's journey and circumstance is unique.
In January 2015, My wife Jessica and I started an event production company in Chicago where we serviced hundreds of weddings, corporate and school events. During the same year, we hosted our 1st annual Back 2 School Giveaway, which we donated over 300+ book bags with school supplies to underprivileged children in their community. With the help of sponsors, businesses and community leaders, we were able to put together successful community events that totaled a 1,000 book bags over the past three years.
On March 3, 2016, I started my own creative media company to help small local businesses and online stores with graphic design, digital presence and social media marketing.
In nearly two years in business, I was able to take my event production company to 6 figures in a record time without using traditional marketing and solely depending on social media and word of mouth referrals.
Even when working on my businesses, I knew there more opportunities as I was always interested in internet marketing and passive income. Even though I quite couldn't understand it, I made a effort to read a book once a month, read one article a day and attend a workshop every two months just to get a real system that works for me while I sleep and enjoy my daily activities. Just to clarify, there has to be countless opportunities I tried before really being successful at it. I mean, there were some courses that promised results and yet didn't explain clearly, a few courses from young guru's in their teen years ( I don't recommend it) and the list goes on. The great thing about those experiences was the knowledge and that is what lead to this moment. The reason why I love passive income and affiliate marketing is you don't have to convince your friends, family and others to sign up just like those MLM companies. Don't get me wrong, a few of those companies are great but you really have to work on building your book of business and contacts. Affiliate marketing works the same but you can promote and market to thousands at once with a effective email list and targeted ads.
It all started in the year 2007, as a high school student in the Southside of Chicago, I met my wife. Although we went to different schools, it was fate that brought us together. Those times were way different to what they are today as everybody knows who you are via social media and although Myspace was the place to be, it wasn't such a big deal. So after just about 3 years of dating, we decided the time was now and we couldn't wait to tie the knot. So in 2010, we finally did the unthinkable and got married as we were just starting our journey, she was 18 and I was 20 years old. We have fun and enjoy our time together as we get to do so much with all of our free time. From traveling to different cities, random road trips and even 5 star restaurants, it's been a blast.
My wife, understands that I am an entrepreneur. She is actually attracted to the hustle and ambition. I was lucky to find an amazing woman that believes in the ambitions I have for myself. She pushes me daily to get things done and to stay focused. While she works on her entrepreneurial endeavors, she constantly reminds me that we’re going to build an empire.
However, she LOVES her date nights, going to the park, and just spending quality time together. I love that too, but I am so deep into my hustle and ambitions, it’s often hard for me to just ‘unplug’. This occasionally creates problems where she may want to do one thing, but I really want to finish handling something for a client. She understands, but I know it’s bad for our relationship.
So, I’ve had to literally put myself on a schedule. This way, I make quality time for us, but I also make quality time for my business. This is what I suggest every entrepreneur to do: make a schedule.
Our 1st, 2nd and 3rd Annual Back 2 School Giveaway has helped more than 1000+ students and their families to prepare for another academic school year as they all received book bags with school supplies. We believe and invest in our children as they are the key to our future. By providing them with the tools they need to succeed in a classroom environment, we are doing our small part in empowering them to develop and grow into successful students. We can't wait to bring our 4th Annual Back 2 School Giveaway event in August 2019
Our 3rd Annual Operation Christmas 2017 was a huge success as we were able to donate over 500+ brand new wrapped toys to the youth in our community. We couldn't have done it without the collaborations of other small businesses in the event industry to make this day possible. We look forward to make a impact every year!