5 Years In
It is hard to believe that I opened the doors to Thorium Wealth 5 years ago on May 24, 2014. Looking back, it was the scariest and most exciting thing I have ever done. Starting a business is not for the faint of heart.
Thorium Wealth was a logical next step for my professional career even though my timing was probably too early. I had spent the entire first part of my career working with business owners and Thorium Wealth has been built as a firm designed for business owners.
In honor of reaching our 5 year anniversary I am going to share some lessons I have learned the hard way related to being a business owner with a little help from some of my favorite rappers.
“Look, if you had, one shot
Or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
In one moment
Would you capture it, or just let it slip?”
Life is too short to spend it wondering what if or what could have been. Regret is a self-defeating emotion. With that said I do wish I had made the leap much younger before I had a life full of responsibilities. It would have allowed me to embrace failure. Having a family to care for makes failures seem fatal. Here is the truth. Failure is rarely fatal and provide a great opportunity to get better. I was scared to go out on my own for so many reasons some of which were valid but most were just me searching for excuses. Once you make the decision to start embrace it and capture the moment and make the most of it.
“No Matter how hard it gets, stick your chest out keep your head up and handle it” – TuPac
Flexibility is one of the advantages you have when you are starting your business. As you grow and things become more complicated remember that flexibility and ability to make decisions quickly is one of your biggest advantages over the competition. It is hard because people get complacent but keep your head up and handle your business and you will see Anniversary 10 and 20 and maybe 100.
“It’s Like Everything that surround you gets brand new. I can’t forget the struggle and I pay dues. Can’t let the money and the fame come between my crew.” – Future
Never be satisfied! The all-time greats are always improving and getting better whether we are talking about athletes, coaches, students, teachers, or business owners. Never be satisfied with yesterday’s success. Celebrate your triumphs but don’t let them stop you from becoming the best you can be.
“My whole thing is to inspire, to better people, to better myself forever in this thing that we call rap, this thing that we call hip hop.” – Kendrick Lamar
Focus 95% of your time on your customers. Far too many of us waste our time on things that don’t matter. If we spend our time with the people who pay you for your product or service you will find that you will be more inspired and will have more business than you can handle. I found myself spending time doing too many things that I didn’t enjoy in those early years and not enough time helping clients and prospects. I have finally flipped that and am now spending 80% of my time on the thing that matters most to Thorium Wealth.
“I’m surrounded by fake-a** crooks/They swear they kingpins but don’t have money on they books/I hear so many lies it make me sick.” – Outkast
Build a cushion before you make the jump. This was my biggest mistake. It gave me very little margin for error. If I don’t make it I will be close to starting a square 1. Not the smartest decision but I am all in on this business and I am certain that after making 5 years we will make it. Most business owners push all their chips into the center of the table every day while they are growing their business. That’s not new and probably won’t ever change because America is the land of opportunity where you don’t have to be from an Ivy League education or wealthy family to create your own wealth. All you need is an idea and an iron clad will to make your idea come to life.
“My mind on my money and my money on my mind.” – Snoop Dogg
You are responsible for your money. You can’t outsource these types of money decisions to someone else so research your major purchases before pulling the trigger. I made some really dumb purchases when I was getting started. Software I didn’t need that my clients didn’t care to use, marketing materials that didn’t communicate what we do, consultants to help us improve our processes that really didn’t happen, real estate decisions. I could go on, but it makes me sad how many dumb business expenses I made the first couple of years in business.
“No matter where life takes me. Find me with a smile.” – Mac Miller
Have Fun! Take time to enjoy the journey. It is not easy to own your own business, but it can be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do in your life. If you don’t take time to enjoy it then you might as well just keep working for someone else. Follow your dreams, have fun every day, serve others, love everyone and never stop learning are the rules that I live by. The hardest ones for me to do every day are having fun and loving everyone. They are the two that take the most work. I am trying and hopefully when I write the 10 year anniversary post I will be closer to mastering both of these skills.
“Stop Collaborate and Listen” – Vanilla Ice
Collaborate or fail. Owning your own business is truly one of the hardest and most rewarding things you can do, but if you don’t find good people to work with, partner with, or take advice from you are going to have a hard time succeeding. There is an old African proverb that says If you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far go together.
“Never mind what haters say, ignore them ’til they fade away.” – T.I
IF owning a business was easy everyone would do it. It’s not easy and you will have a ton of people doubt you along the way. Don’t let that discourage you. Believe in yourself, it is easy when the times get tough to think you should go back to the 9-5 grind of working for someone else. Every “successful” business owner has had that moment where times are really hard and they are faced with the fork in the road: continue moving forward or quit and go back. It’s not an easy answer but successful people fail all time time and continue to try. Owning a business requires that kind of determination.
“If you are what you say you are, a superstar. Then have no fear, the camera’s here” – Lupe Fiasco
Trust yourself! When I was getting started, I found myself questioning every decision I was making. A little self-doubt is ok and motivating but it’s important to embrace your inner superstar. If you have confidence in your product it will come through to your target clients. If you don’t then you need to find a different business.
Owning a business that serves business owners is one of the most rewarding, challenging, frustrating and satisfying adventures I have been on. I look forward to seeing how we evolve over the next 5 years. I am excited to have David as part of the team and can’t wait to continue to serve our current and future clients. If this message inspired you, please share it with your friends who may need a nudge or some encouragement. Being a business owner will never be easy so keep growing, improving and challenging yourself.