In this post we are sharing with you the story of a burnt-out business entrepreneur and how he turned his life around. A true and inspiring story to keep you going when you in fact want to crawl into a big black hole and never want to wake up! Enjoy!
My cell phone was ringing again. It was 6am, and I was in bed – exhausted. It felt like it had just stopped ringing 5 minutes ago. Back in those days, my cell phone rang from 6am to about 9pm. I was using 5000 minutes a month on my cell phone. I had some sort of VIP status with my cell phone company, which was a nice way of saying that I used my phone more than Ari Gold on ‘Entourage’.
Are You Feeling Like This?
Business Entrepreneur | Is This What I Signed Up For?
In 2007 I owned a small construction company, and I thought this is what I wanted: double digit annual growth, happy customers, new equipment, and constantly hiring. I even had a shiny new truck. I thought that was what I wanted. Then my wife started to point out that I was truly, secretly miserable. I was picking fights with her, getting in road rage incidents, and yelling at our dogs. I needed a change.
So after a lot of consideration, I put the company up for sale. To my surprise 3 short months later I had a nice nest egg, tons of time on my hands, and freedom. My wife and I travelled, caught up with family and friends, and rekindled our romance. But I knew I needed stimulation, a new challenge, and something to do.
Only this time it was going to be different. My business was going to work for me. Not the other way around. I would set my own personal goals, and the business would conform to those. If it didn’t I would change the business or get rid of it. So began my journey towards finding true freedom in business and life.
Business Entrepreneur | A Brand New Day
I played with the idea of starting a real estate development company. I knew construction and real estate and thought it would be fun. Unfortunately I ran smack into a little thing called the ‘Great Recession’ and the worst real estate market in 80 years. So much for that idea.
The financial crisis forced me to think about what I really wanted. I decided I didn’t want to be tied down to any one location. I have had the good fortune of living all over the US, and would like to have the freedom to do that again as I choose. That meant that my business needed to be mobile too, and couldn’t be tied to one location or project.
Business Entrepreneur | A Laptop and An Idea
That’s when I started really looking into online businesses. Now, you have to realize that I was a ‘late adopter’. I had the oldest cell phone of anyone I knew. When Google’s IPO came out I scoffed at the people that clamored for shares of what I thought would be another dot com bust. I had a computer that ran on leaded gasoline. So the idea of running a website, programming pages, and setting up servers was more than daunting – it was impossible for me.
Luckily it occurred to me that other people had already figured all of these details. So I began looking for websites that were already built, producing income, and for sale. I found many options on BizBuySell.com, WebsiteProperties.com, and Flippa.com. Gradually I narrowed down my choices. I wanted something that had at least $20,000 per year in income already. Plus I wanted it to be in a big growth industry. And I wanted it to be in the green and eco-conscious arena.
Business Entrepreneur | Finally – The Answer
I found Solar Sphere, my current business, for sale in late 2008. My wife and I had been living in a solar, off the grid home, and we knew a little about the subject. It was reasonably priced, in the fast growing solar niche, and satisfied my need for something that made money in the sustainability industry. I then jumped in with both feet and immersed myself in online marketing. I learned e-commerce, shopping cart set-up, search engine optimization, and pay per click advertising.
It was scary at times; being at the mercy of Google was unfamiliar to me. And there were so many new terms I had never heard of; things like CPA, EPC, anchor text, and SERP. But I powered through, learned as much as I could, and realized somewhere along the way THAT I LOVE THIS BUSINESS. I had never been able to say that before. The work was fun and I could do it from anywhere and at any time. Plus it was really fulfilling to send solar panels to Africa, or help school children learn about solar power.
Next time we’ll talk about how I grew this business from $20,000 per year to over $500,000 per year in revenue – and the painful lessons I learned along the way.
Kriss Bergethon is a writer and solar expert from Colorado. For more information visit his site at solar panel kits for homes.