I am happy to have made it to 55, I almost did not make it past 54, so it feels good to be here today!
Last year I had a heart attack and ended up needing a quadruple heart bypass operation. I am feeling great now, though, and my latest heart test showed that my heart has fully recovered and is very strong. So, the news is very good!
So, as a retrospective for my birthday, I wanted to look back on my life as a businessman. A lot of people have a very different idea of my life and what it was like, business-wise, compared to the way I see it. I have numerous people tell me that they think I am a really good businessman, or that I have been in business for myself for many years. Truth is, as far as I am concerned anyway, that is not the case. I have always been business-minded, but not always a businessman, the way I see it.
I am an entrepreneur
Now, what I always have been being an entrepreneur. I am an idea man.
Even when I was a child, I was an entrepreneur. I always had little businesses of my own to make a little extra money. I guess those were the early days of my “streams of income” attitude.
When I was 9 years old, I remember getting started doing things like cutting grass for neighbors. Soon, I was picking weeds for people, doing any kind of yard work that they needed. The word was around the area that if you needed yard work done, “Bobby” was the guy to call. I was known as Bobby back then, although it is a name that I hate now, so don’t call me that! 🙂
As I got a bit older, I started offering babysitting services too, and I had a lot of business.
I remember when I was in 7th grade, as I recall, the big craze was a new type of bubble gum which was called “Bubble Yum”. I lived in Fullerton, California at the time. This Bubble Yum was desired by all of the kids, but you could not find it anywhere. I don’t recall what a pack of gum costs in those days, but let’s say it was 25 cents. If you could get your hands on Bubble Yum, you could get $2 for the pack, nearly 10 times what it cost you. That was because it was extremely desired, but very scarce and hard to find.
Somehow I made a deal with the manager of a nearby convenience store. He would get a case or two of Bubble Yum once a week or so. I told him that I wanted to buy all he would get, and I would pay double the price. He would call me and let me know when the supply came in, I would go down there and buy it all. The next day at school I would have my locker full of Bubble Yum. I would spread the word that I had plenty of supply at $2 per pack, and by lunchtime, I would have it all sold. Problem was that I could not get more until a week later!
These kinds of businesses were the norm for me, and I was always finding new ways to make money.
Later in life
Once I finished High School and then finished a couple of years of college, I started working a “regular job”. Well, really, I started a regular job when I was a sophomore in High School, I guess. Still, though, I was always on the lookout for “sideways” of making money.
I worked “regular jobs” until I was about 30 or so, then I started a publishing company. I designed and printed maps of every state showing where all of the Ham Radio repeaters were located. This information was available in book form, but having it on a map was something nobody had thought of. So, I did it, and the sales were great. Once sales took off, I quit my “regular job” and jumped in head first. Soon, a book publishing company saw my maps and they asked me if I wanted to put all of the maps into book format.. my first book was published a few months later.
The Internet Came along
Not long after that, this thing called “the Internet” came along. When I heard about it and started using it, I knew almost immediately that this was the new cash register of the future, and I started selling things on the net. My vision was certainly correct on that, although it took a lot longer than I thought before the use of the net to make money was widespread. That is a good thing, though, because it meant that I got in on the ground floor.
I moved to the Philippines in 2000
In the year 2000, I moved to the Philippines. I kept doing my entrepreneurial things and in addition to doing Internet businesses, I also opened a few brick and mortar businesses as well. It did not take very long, other expats started noticing that I was able to make money while living in the Philippines, something that they felt was impossible to do. The key, though, mostly, was the Internet. The Internet suddenly made it possible to sell things anywhere in the world, to anybody, no matter where you were physically located! It didn’t matter if you lived in the Philippines or Philadelphia. You still had the same access to worldwide audience and customers! I took advantage of that. And… it worked!
I was 38 when I moved to the Philippines. I was not retired from work as most expats are. Most expats have Social Security income or Pensions from the company that they worked for. I had nothing. I had to earn money in order to feed my (young) family, and I did it. I find it very satisfying to have been able to accomplish that because most people thought it was impossible. I nearly failed several times, but each time I came back stronger.
As I said, I was never a businessman
I never saw myself as a businessman, although that is how a lot of people saw me. I always saw myself as an entrepreneur. A person who had a lot of tiny little ways that made a small amount of money. I found a few ways that made me a lot of money, and that is exciting when it happens. But, as a friend once told me… “nothing lasts forever”. And, I found that to be true.
Well, one thing that just might last forever is that I will always be an entrepreneur. It is in my blood. It is part of my DNA.