From an unfamiliar surge of energy that passed through my body while passing a new ADAP (American Discount Auto Parts) store on Mineral Spring Avenue in North Providence in 1988, a Rite Aid owned corporate chain which would lay down the tracks for my 17 years of business success starting with my opening the first Hyperformance Automotive Accessories store in 1992 to achieving unimaginable financial success by the time I was thirty-five years old. So, how did it all happen? It took me years to find that answer.
You see, there is a certain amount of know how that is needed to succeed in anything and sometimes the Universe will bring us to places we believe have nothing to do with our Journey. That day on Mineral Spring Avenue on my way home from dropping off some artwork to a local advertising agency set a series of events in motion that would take me from lack to ‘Mac’. Working as a cashier for an auto parts chain was not part of my plan. I had dreams bigger than that. Besides, I was in college on my way to becoming a six-figure earner at a major Boston based agency. The thing was, at that moment I was barely making ends meet. Working for the college Audio/Visual department as a student helper and doing freelance art work for small advertising agencies was not enough. Adversity caused me to seriously consider alternative sources.
It was at the very moment when I felt that odd surge of energy that I turned to the ‘Help Wanted’ sign in the store’s window. I pulled in, filled out an application and was hired on the spot. In a very short period I went from cash register, to parts counter and within a few weeks was promoted to Key Holder. From there my career in Retail Management took root.
The corporate world was a lot different than the family businesses I had grown up with. Business was in my bloodline. My dad had his own business, my mom inherited my grandfather’s business and I discovered at sixteen years old that I had what it took to be a success in business. I was that kid who knew how to make money and not just keep it. My skill was in making it grow. Once I was working in corporate America I began to share my ideas with those immediately above me. Whenever I made a mistake I would own it, learn from it and never make that same mistake again. However, in this strange new world those who stole the ideas of others and would never own up to their own mistakes would get the promotions and bonuses that would pave their way to corporate success.
Epiphany, I decided if I wanted to succeed in business I needed to be the captain of my own ship. I rented a store front at 1394 Douglas Avenue in North Providence and began that journey. I sat down on the floor against the back wall of that building and imagined customers coming into the store, making purchases and becoming my friends and well as my clients. I used everything I learned and every idea I shared with my superiors at my previous employer to catapult Hyperformance Automotive Accessories to its eminent success. I opened my Cranston store in 1994 and my Johnston store and service center in 1996. By 1998 I had purchased my first commercial property, a 9000-square foot superstore located at 228 Putnam Pike in Johnston. I was now in the real estate business.
Business is business and real estate is not rocket science. Anyone can be successful if they can find the right property, secure it and convert it to something that will produce. The only thing that holds most people back is fear. Once you move through that, it’s on!
I made $200,000 at the closing table. Just think, six years earlier I started my first retail store with $10,000 saved and $10,000 borrowed from a home equity line of credit. I made $200,000 on a $20,000 investment in six years. I remember exactly what I said to myself prior to investing that first twenty thousand, “You can either buy a really nice car right now and drive up and down Mineral Spring Avenue pretending you’ve got all kinds of money or you can take the shot knowing that if you miss you’ll be pretending you’re driving around in a really nice car for the next five years.” Obviously, I took the shot, four years later I bought a 1996 Tahoe right off the sales floor at what is now Paul Masse Chevrolet in East Providence. In 1999 I purchased one loaded and added customer wheels, tires and an audio-visual entertainment system just because I could.
I had owned my business for only six years, I accumulated a hand full of properties and without even trying I achieved a net worth of over $1.5 million. I didn’t set out to be a millionaire as many do. I just have a talent for recognizing opportunities without being opportunistic. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Remember, I mentioned there was something about my success that took me decades to figure out. It was my love of building relationships. You see, my success comes from building relationships. Any other successes are merely side effects.
Life is a series of successes and failures? Not really, it’s a series of lessons learned, and ideas put to action. We all get tripped up from time to time and much of what could be interpreted as failure are experiences necessary to bring us forward to our next greatest thing. I too have experienced financial turmoil and loss in ways I had never considered, but I persevere. The real estate bubble burst and the banking crisis which followed shrunk my net worth exponentially. I had to take jobs that I didn’t like to get by. Financial stresses wreaked havoc on my relationships and pushed me to the brink, but I never gave up or surrendered. You just must pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get through another day.
A series of events has taken place and brought us to exactly where we are right now. Get excited, because things are about to get interesting. I said, “life’s adversities often bring us to the next greatest thing.” Well, that’s how I became and author, business success coach and radio personality. I was forced out of my comfort zone and pushed into my next greatest thing. Nobody knows what the future will bring, but I’ll close with this. The best way to predict the future is to create it.