Dec 30, 2021 #givethanks100
Today I'm giving thanks for my dad.
My dad has an unparalleled work ethic and creative entrepreneurial drive. By the time I was three years old, he and my mom had founded their fourth business. While the first three were misfires, the fourth grew to ~100 employees over the next 15 years and they had a successful sale of the business.
My dad is now semi-retired, but- I don’t think he’s capable of actually retiring. He’s got his sixth business to keep him busy.
Those six businesses were: 1) an unfinished furniture store, 2) an arcade, 3) a Sears catalog store, 4) a mattress pad & pillow manufacturing company, 5) a hair salon with a laundromat in back, and 6) a self-storage facility. Did I mention creative entrepreneurial drive? Every one of those started with an idea and a belief that he could solve a problem.
With HomeSpotter, I had founded my sixth business (LLC or Inc.) as well. The only consistent theme across all six is that they were software businesses. From a birds eye view, they otherwise seem like a random progression. But they all started with similar motivations to my father’s – seeing a problem I believed I could solve, and wanting to do so.
I never got an MBA, and while I considered it at one point, I know I got an MBA’s worth of an education at the dinner table as I was growing up. My dad and mom would talk about their work day. I saw enough of the struggles and the celebrations to better know what I was getting into when I started my own business.
I established my first ‘real’ software business in high school. I sold Windows software I wrote – as shareware. My dad helped with a number of things – things like taking me to a local attorney to set up an S corporation, letting me use his fax machine to take orders (yes, I’m that old), and helping me get a merchant account set up to take credit cards (it was so much harder in those days, before Stripe existed).
Given my dad’s experience, he was quick to recognize and convey to me just how unique software businesses are, especially that first one. I invested a lot of my free time over a nine month period to create the software. While that was a sunk cost, after that it was almost pure profit. Once the orders started coming in, my average expense on a $49 order was just $3. That was a very different gross margin profile than he was used to in manufacturing and he thought that was pretty cool.
In the years since, I’ve gone to my dad for advice numerous times. And, he’s always looked out for me in good times and in bad.
Dad- I could write a lot more, but I’ll just say- thanks for raising me, looking out for me, and getting me started on my entrepreneurial journey.
Originally posted on LinkedIn – head over to give it a like or a share.
I’m giving thanks for 100+ days to individuals that positively impacted me or HomeSpotter’s trajectory.