A Thanksgiving Story About Entrepreneurs

A Thanksgiving Story About Entrepreneurs

When I was in sixth grade, I was considered an “at-risk” youth. I didn’t live in the best neighborhood and wasn’t exposed to the best influences. This led to me being kicked out or expelled several times before reaching high school.

My dad remodeled and built homes so when I couldn’t go to school as a result of being kicked out, I went to work with him. In going to work with him, I had the opportunity to work alongside him for many people who happened to be entrepreneurs.

Those entrepreneurs would pay me money on the side to help with other projects on the property where we were working. This would often lead to me painting a fence, cutting grass, clean up, or other construction-related labor. This was bonus money because my dad also paid me handsomely!

The opportunity to go to work with my dad is where I developed the love of being self-employed, and where the foundation of my work ethic was formed.

You may be asking, “What does this have to do with Thanksgiving, Keith?”.

Well, Thanksgiving is an opportunity for us all to think about our story and all the things we can be grateful for. I am thankful for the entrepreneurs that were in my life on my journey to adulthood as an at-risk youth. I am thankful for the opportunity to see my Father’s brilliance at work. I am thankful to have the opportunity to hopefully be that light for someone else.

Today, I am most thankful to have an opportunity to serve entrepreneurs, their staff, and their customers. I have learned how difficult it is for entrepreneurs to build and grow a successful business and am thankful to have the opportunity to give back to those that inspired me.

I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family, friends, partnerships, and neighbors.

Let’s step into gratitude!

March Madness: Building Your Cinderella Business

March Madness: Building Your Cinderella Business

The business of March Madness is here!

It’s a time where most of us fill out our brackets at work and wait to see who will win the office competition.

It’s also a time when we see the underdog win and overachieve on one of the biggest sports stages in the world.

For many early-stage entrepreneurs, we are lucky if we’ve even noticed that it’s almost over.

My first year in business has not included much time watching basketball games, that’s for sure!

The desire to provide an excellent experience, build quality relationships, while delivering it at a reasonable cost to our clients has not come with many days off.

This has caused me to think about ways that I can better improve our approach to serving our retail, restaurant, and B2B brands, while also making sure I stay in the best physical, emotional, and mental health.

As we approach our first anniversary, we are implementing several key strategies we learned from Trevor Hammond about building a better business and experience for the sake of our clients, while keeping our physical and mental health as a company important.

When we interviewed Trevor on our podcast, we discussed a few strategies he has implemented in his professional life that has allowed him to build a great business, while being able to take 155 days off from work every year!

If that’s not a major win in business, I don’t know what is!

CREATING A VISION

The first principle that Trevor suggests in building a great business is creating a vision that is greater than just making money. Trevor works in the mortgage industry helping people make better financial decisions, including how their mortgage fits into the life they want to create. By him creating a vision that was focused on the positive impact he wanted to make in the lives of his clients, he was able to do work that mattered to him and the clients he serves. Creating a vision also provided Trevor with the sustained energy and focus needed to create the quality content for his clients that helped them be more successful financially.

Talking with Trevor made me think about my life’s mission and the purpose of the Northwest Advisory Group. Like Trevor, I’m not in the financial services industry because I’m so in love with the products and services we provide, but rather for the opportunity to build a great life while helping our partners and clients protect and build successful businesses. Our vision is to be a key player on a great business team, helping them overachieve against the competition.

DIFFERENTIATION

The second principle Trevor suggests in building a great business is finding ways to differentiate yourself from the other brands in your industry. Trevor has done this by penning “Borrow Smart, Repay Smart”, A 7-Step Process For Building & Managing The Wealth In Your House, and managing numerous blogs, while also developing unique strategies for people to leverage their mortgage. By Trevor focusing on unique ways to serve his ideal clients, homeowners and other loan officers, he has positioned himself as the authority on how to make smart financial decisions and has built a great business as a result.

UNIQUE ABILITY

The third and final principle Trevor suggests in building a great business is by focusing on your unique abilities as an entrepreneur. Trevor, a student of the great Dan Sullivan, evaluated the key areas of his business that he did very well and decided to solely focus his efforts in those areas. He then hired people that were better in the areas where he wasn’t strong. As Trevor restructured his business around his unique abilities, he was able to perform at peak production levels while also being able to enjoy vacations with his family for weeks at a time, uninterrupted. 

CONCLUSION

In closing, I’d like to congratulate Trevor for, in my opinion, building a great vision, business, and career. He has built a roadmap that all entrepreneurs can gain great perspective and value from. As I continue to listen to the interview we did together, I continue to make improvements and adjustments to the message and vision of the Northwest Advisory Group.

I hope that you too are inspired by his message and take steps to grow your business to new levels of success! Make sure you check out his blog and forward it to anyone you think may find it helpful!

 

Defining Moments In Entrepreneurship

Defining Moments In Entrepreneurship

 

 

Twelve months ago, I sat at client’s cafe in Lake Oswego, OR and bawled my eyes out as I wrote a resignation letter on my iPad. I was emotional because I was really going to miss serving my clients. I really enjoyed helping businesses with their credit card processing and I really believed in the company I sold for but I came to disagree with some of the changes that were being made after we were acquired. The company didn’t make drastic changes but there were a few parties added to the team that I was really uncomfortable doing business with. In addition to that, a client of mine was getting invoiced for something he shouldn’t have been invoiced for and I was pretty upset. In the end, my employer chose to side with the party that was invoicing my client and I chose to immediately end the relationship.

It was this event that changed my entire viewpoint of the credit card processing industry as a whole. Instead of seeing my employer as head and shoulders above the rest, I began to see each processor in light of its strengths and weaknesses. I chose to appreciate what their capabilities were while also taking the time to understand their weakness. I also chose to never anchor my solutions to one processor, as every client has different goals and must have options when it comes to picking their credit card processor.

This event turned out to be one of my greatest defining moments. It was a defining moment because I wasn’t sure what I was going to do next, but I was committed to doing what I felt was right. This was a major victory because I chose my values over my pocketbook in this moment, something that is very hard to do when you have responsibilities like family and personal commitments that must be met. I must tell you though, it felt sooooo good to quit a job for the right reasons! I felt like such a warrior!

Ultimately, I learned a few things in this experience as I evaluate the past 12 months. The first thing I learned is that life always works itself out. Today I am continuing to help merchants with their merchant services and am really happy with all the solutions I have access to. I don’t have a boss chewing me out because I’m not helping him hit his numbers. And I am proud of the decision I made to follow my heart and core values.

What about you? Do you have any defining moments that come to mind? I’d love to hear one if you have one to spare!

Have an awesome day!