Business Owners Who Beat the Odds and What You Can Learn From Them!
There are as many different types of businesses as there are people, and new entrepreneurs often take heart in reading the stories of other business owners who have overcome incredible odds to get their own unique business out into the world. To inspire you in the new year, here are three stories of three very different types of business owners and how they overcame great odds to make their individual businesses thrive.
Can you imagine using a computer with just one hand? What about a mobile phone? Even though the majority of the tech world is based around the idea that you need two functional hands to get things done, that didn’t stop Chad Mureta from learning web development and designing the best-selling app Fingerprint Security Pro — all while in a hospital bed, recovering from a car accident that crushed his left arm.
Mureta had never built a web app before but knew that he had to find some way of earning money to pay off his hospital bills, especially since he was no longer well enough to manage his former real-estate business. So, he single-handedly built Fingerprint Security Pro, earned over $700,000 with his first app, and then built the business now known as the App Empire.
Adding new business partners is always a nerve-wracking proposition. In the case of Kathleen King, her decision to hire an unscrupulous business partner for her bakery, Kathleen’s Bake Shop, nearly put her out of business forever.
To quote King, in an interview with Lori Weiss: “I liked him and he liked the business, so we became friends and I hired him full-time as my bookkeeper. And not long after that, he expressed interest in becoming a partner in the business — and bringing his brother in as well.”
These two “partners” literally locked King out of her own business and combined their business shares into a controlling interest, firing King and leaving her with nothing.
However, King regrouped, saying goodbye to her initial bakery and opening a new one, Tate’s Bake Shop. Her cookies are now sold across the globe at Whole Foods and other upscale supermarkets.
As for those two brothers? They’re out of business.
Here’s what you can typically expect if you want to be a cartoonist: days spent slowly building a fanbase online, gaining one follower at a time through social media. Hours spent printing and binding your own work. Weekends spent traveling to comic conventions in expensive cities like Los Angeles or far-flung towns like Hudson, Ohio, hoping enough people will buy your comics and t-shirts for you to break even.
What you can’t do — what the experts say you should never do — is stop producing. Certainly not for two years.
Yet that’s exactly what cartoonist Allie Brosh did. Her web comic Hyperbole and a Half chugged along on a Blogspot site for two years before finally finding its audience in 2011. In May of 2011, Allie Brosh announced she was going to publish a book. In October 2011, Brosh drew a comic about depression.
And then, she disappeared.
In May of 2013, she announced her return by printing Depression Part Two, her most successful piece of art to date. Her original book deadline was long gone, but she regrouped and republished Hyperbole and a Half, which has been at the top of the New York Times bestseller list for eight weeks to date.
What can we learn from these stories? One is that underdogs make for great stories. Another truth to take from these experiences is that a great idea will take you far, but only if you work for it and get it out into the world. Perhaps the final, most important, thing to take from these stories is that in business you must persevere to succeed. Any of these people could have given up and become lonely statistics – instead, they charged forward, determined to make their dreams come true.
I know what it is like to work long and hard in your business. When it’s your passion, you will give it every ounce you have to succeed. And even though there are times when you want to throw your computer out the window, you hang in there and when you feel you have hit a dead end, you always find another passage through. It’s about never taking ‘no’ for an answer and being in that mission to share your dream with everyone that cares and will listen.
But guess what? It does not need to be a long, hard road. When you work with a mentor that has walked that walk before you, and can show you exactly what you need to do to get out of the dollars-for-hours model and really expand your business, you can get there without the headache and the heartache. They can get you to your goal in the fastest most direct route. And that is what I want to do for you!
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Allison Maslan, CEO of Pinnacle Global Network, is the Wall Street Journal Best Selling Author of Scale or Fail, which is endorsed by Daymond John and Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank. Allison’s built 10 successful companies starting out at age 19.
Now she and her team of CEO Mentors pay it forward by helping business owners scale their companies, fast-track their success, and create a more meaningful life. Pinnacle Global Network, a world leader in scaling companies and empowering business leaders has guided thousands of CEO's and Founders to success over the past decade. Allison’s been featured in Inc., Success, Fortune, Fast Company, and Forbes Magazines, is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine, and a featured expert on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and Fox across the US. She is also the host and producer of The Scale or Fail Show podcast, and the Women Who Own it Podcast in partnership with WBENC, the largest certifier of women-owned businesses in North America.
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