I moved to Las Vegas (from Michigan) in November of 2006. I had a college degree, a U-Haul full of my belongings, a couple thousand dollars and a dream.
I had zero family here.
I had zero friends here.
I had zero connections here.
I figured the $3k I had saved up would last a couple of months.
I was never good at math.
I blame the sports bar on the North side of town. The damn video poker machines sucked me in. From what I hear, this is quite common in Vegas, as you can imagine. They say if you can last 6 months out here, you beat Vegas. I am proud to say I have been here 8+ years. Still not sure if I “beat Vegas”.
So, I was forced to find a job as that video poker machine was obviously broke and took my savings. It didn’t take long as construction was booming here at the time. I was hired the first interview I went to. I like to think it was my killer interview skills, but I can only fool myself for so long.
My Construction Career on the Las Vegas Strip
I started working for a construction company building 3 condominium towers on the Las Vegas strip. Not bad for my first job out of college. Well, that lasted about 10 months and I was unemployed, again. To make a long story short — the bosses assistant didn’t care for me. Or my sister.
It turned out to be a silver lining. I found another construction company who was building the largest privately funded project in U.S history — CityCenter. I was hired 30 days after I lost my other job and it was a 60% raise in pay.
Not bad, not bad at all.
Well, that project was completed in December of 2009, so I worked there for 27 months. We all knew we were getting laid off as the economy was in the dumps, Vegas was hit hard if you didn’t have a TV at that time.
I had worked 6 to 7 days a week, 80-90 hours per week for the last 3 months of the project. I was on salary, so I was making like $4.53/hr when you average everything out.
I remember talking with a plumber on a Sunday, he was getting paid double time, plus some other inventive. He was making around $130 per hour on that Sunday. He didn’t work fast, and I don’t blame him, but it should not take 2 hours to screw a screw into a wall. To say he was taking his sweet time would be a huge understatement.
Again, he was getting paid by the hour — $130 per hour!
It was an awesome experience and I am forever grateful for the opportunity to work on such a huge project. In 20 years, I can show Ava the Aria Tower and let her know her “old man” had a hand (along with like 12,000+ other people) in building it.
Here is a picture of at the “topping off party” for Aria — I am on the left
Anyways, I was absolutely worn out after that. I went back to Michigan for the holidays as I didn’t have a job anymore. I spent 3 weeks in Michigan and squeezed a trip to Key West with a few friends for New Year’s. We drove from Michigan to the Florida Keys and back to Michigan in 7 days.
I wouldn’t do that again.
I got back to Vegas in mid-January of 2010. I told myself after the previous three months I was going to sit on the couch, watch Maury Povich reruns and eat bon-bons for 6 months.
Some time in the beginning of February of that year I was extremely bored. I had saved some money and I wanted to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.
I was 28-years old with a degree in Construction Management, but there was no construction going on. On top of that, I had just purchased a home (in ’09), so it wasn’t like I could just pick up and move. I had to stay in Vegas, but employment options were limited. Unless, I wanted to slang cards at one of the off-strip casinos on Tuesday afternoons.
I found myself on Amazon looking for a book on motivation. I was feeling down and needed something. I came across the video and my life completely changed.
Time to Crush It
The guy in the video’s name is Gary Vaynerchuk. He is my idol and some call it a man crush. I bought his book Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion and it changed everything for me.
I self-taught myself web design by watching hundreds of hours of YouTube videos. I studied this thing called Internet Marketing and found the Warrior Forum — The #1 Internet Marketing Forum on the Internet.
That site and that book changed my outlook on life. They both changed my life.
There have been a ton of ups and downs.
Some days I wanted to quit.
Some days I jumped for joy.
Some days I cried.
Some days I questioned what I was doing.
Some days I laughed.
Some days I cried.
Nowadays I smile.
I smile because I try to focus on ‘the gap’. The gap being where I was in October 2010 to now — December 2014. I try and focus on how far I have come, with ZERO business building skills. Remember, I have a degree in construction, not business management. I learned the hard way — the very hard way.
I try and focus on the journey of 50 months of being an entrepreneur and how much I have grown as a person.
I try and focus on the good I have provided with 400+ marketing blog posts that have helped hundreds of business owners around the world.
I try and focus on the hundreds of calls I have had over the years with business owners, sharing ideas and strategies to grow their bottom line.
I smile at all the lessons I have learned over the years.
There are no failures, only lessons learned.
After spending a ton of time on my personal development over the last few months, I am getting better at looking at all this as lessons learned. The good, bad and ugly.
Stay-at-home-Dad-prenuer is a word I came up with (I believe). I would not be surprised if the people of Webster’s contacted me about making it an “official word” in 2015 😀
I just Googled the term to see what came up.
Look who’s at #4!
Anyways, I now am a stay-at-home-Dad-prenuer. I am grateful for the opportunity to stay at home and raise Ms. Ava Marie. It is a very difficult job with her and running a business. It forced me to learn how to automate a lot of my business. In fact, I just wrote a post about that subject you can read here: How You Can Automate Your Lead Generation & Save Time for Less than $70/Mo
That is why I am sitting in my office on a Saturday afternoon, writing this blog post. I would love to be watching college football right now as that is one of my favorite hobbies.
I have learned you have to make sacrifices.
Another lesson learned 😀
One of my why’s (a blog post coming soon) of going into business was to be around when I had kids. I wanted to walk them to the bus stop, go to their sporting events, teach them about entrepreneurship and all those other things some fathers miss out on.
I still have a long way to go. I am learning everyday. I am making mistakes everyday.
This post is to remind you to enjoy the journey in whatever you are doing.
Some of the best advice I ever received was from a guy named Harry. I was working for my Dad in Michigan and this was the summer before I was heading off to college. It was the summer of 2000.
Harry was a fork-lift driver at the block plant next to our work in Canton, Michigan. He wore glasses, a mesh hat and a cut off t-shirt, everyday. This wasn’t our main plant, so I didn’t see Harry everyday, more like once/month. I always enjoyed chatting with him and would guess he was in his mid-50s.
I’ll never forget the day I was telling him I was heading off to college soon. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I remember exactly where I was. He could see the excitement I had. He then said 5 words to me that have stuck with me to this day.
I believe those 5 words will stick with me forever. The funny thing is, at the time, I didn’t think anything of it.
He said to me;
Enjoy it while you can
I still, to this day, think back to those 5 words and how they have altered my life. Those 5 words, at that moment, didn’t mean much. It’s amazing now, after 14 years, how much they mean to me.
That is what life is all about. Living in the now. It’s not easy to do, but it is so important, if you want to live a fulfilled life.
Live for today.
Don’t worry about tomorrow or next week or last week or next month or next year.
Live for today.
Live in the now.
As a friend once told me, you have to enjoy it while you can.