The last time my entire family saw the Austin skyline was 8+ years ago, and it was in the rear-view mirror.
I was driving the biggest U-Haul I could rent, and my Co-Pilot was our yellow lab Abby.
My wife was in her car which was jammed full of boxes, our 8-month-old daughter, and a German Shepard (Dakota – I am sure you can guess where her name came from).
I am pretty sure I had the easier job……
It was the end of an era, I was in the final stages of selling my first franchise business.
Over the prior 8 years, we had built a business with a combination of retail locations (12 over 8 years) and a Regional Development (Master Franchise) with 42 franchisee-owned/operated locations.
I wasn’t necessarily ready for the journey to end, but we were made an offer that I couldn’t say NO to.
I had a lot of time to think. It took 24 hours of drive time to get from Austin to Rapid City, South Dakota and eventually you just give up looking for a new radio station.
It was the end of something I loved and was proud of, my future was unclear.
During that ride, I made the decision that I wanted to find another opportunity in franchising.
Today my entire family is returning to Austin (slightly larger, 2 more daughters) and it’s clear that I made the right decision.
Over the last 8 years I have invested in 5 different franchise brands, some on my own and some with partners. At the time I didn’t know it, but my first 8 years in franchising would become a platform for the next 8.
First Eight: I owned 1 brand, had tons of employees, and I worked my tail off.
Second Eight: 5 different franchise concepts, have very few employees, and I have great work/life balance.
Next Eight: Who knows! Honestly, I can’t wait to see what happens and where we take it.
Today I spend a lot of time trying to share what I learned during the first half of my career with others.
I want to help people avoid the school of hard knocks (If there were a PhD from the School of Hard Knocks I would have it).
No matter how much I share, there are some things you can never fully understand until you experience it; taking the leap of faith to buy your first business, paying your first payroll, the pride of walking into your business for the first time.
If I wouldn’t have made the decision to sell my first business and stay in the game (vs. getting a job) I would have missed out on a great run. Who knows what my life would be like today. Would I have a boss that makes my life miserable, would I have to work all the time, would I feel trapped in a career I hate…
It turns out that I had to let go of what I had (my business) and take the leap into the unknown to get what I wanted.