Like me, have you ever been labeled as a “daydreamer” by your elementary school teachers?
There is nothing wrong with dreaming big and I encourage you to do it daily. Just don’t let those visions sit inside you for too long, because most cases have an expiration date. You have to apply action and a whole lot of hustle to make your visions a reality. Don’t fear failure, because it’s your greatest ally. As a matter of fact, I suggest you fall on your face often, get right back up and take notes every time. No one said life was easy, and if they did, they lied to you.
From a young age I aspired to be my own boss. At 7-years-old I operated a chain of lemonade stands in my neighborhood, ran a network of profitable paper routes and by the age of 10 I started a full service landscaping and odd job service company.
I grew up sharing a room with my younger brother on the first floor of a two family home in the north end of Bridgeport, Connecticut. We weren’t poor, but we struggled at times. My parents worked very hard to provide for my brother and I, and I feel that I achieved some of my strong work ethic from them. As a self sufficient teenager, I always held part time jobs after school. I never wanted to add extra burden on my parents by asking for an allowance. My jobs helped pay for gas, insurance, clothes, food and various expensive hobbies like skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding and save for the good old american dream of safety and security….college. Being a W-2 ‘d employee alone didn’t cut it for me though. Instead, I sold my art work and served as a personal shopper for young adults looking for cutting edge fashion trends from the Village in NYC which I frequented on a weekly basis.
After high school graduation I decided to take a one year break in order to take things a step further with my start-up clothing label, “Oli Gear”, an underground street gear clothing line influenced by the skate and surf culture. I gained a wealth of knowledge and the greatest “degree” from the unaccredited and underrated “School of Hard Knocks” during this period, which became more valuable then any college class.
The early 1990’s started with a deep recession that was full of economic uncertainty. Every middle class parent’s dream at the time was for their child to attain a formal college eduction, so I figured it was no better time than the present to enroll in business courses at a local community college to make them happy. It seemed that they wanted me to have a backup plan in place in case my entrepreneurial pursuits didn’t pan out. After some internal struggles, I took things a bit further by entering an accredited business school double majoring in marketing and business administration to working towards my BS degree. I went to school full-time, worked hard every hour in between at a country club and always hustled with various side business ventures.
To my dismay, the university professors were serving up laced Kool Aid with the idea that if we worked hard and earned our degree safety and security was waiting for all us at the end. Independent thinking was rarely encouraged and classes on entrepreneurship didn’t exist at the time. Everything they were teaching didn’t apply to the real world, because it was all in books they have ironically written….it was all theory.
Like most American’s after graduation I found myself in massive student loan debt. It left me no choice, but to join the rat race to try to help eliminate this burden that seemed to quadruple in size. I never gave up on my entrepreneurial pursuits in being my own boss full time, but that damn mountain of debt made it a far off possibility.
I went onto being an executive recruiter for a firm with the hopes that I can find lucrative job for myself in the process. The uncanny benefit of this line of work was that I got to interview a ton of people face to face. It afforded the opportunity to get paid to ask unorthodox and in-depth questions to match the candidates up with the right jobs. I became obsessed and frequently went off script to discover what people were most passionate about, what makes them tick and drives them to jump out of bed in the morning. My mission wasn’t to just match these candidates with my clients that were hiring. I wanted to align them to their dream.
This period served as a catalyst to immerse myself further into studying personal and professional development for self edification. I read every book, listened to books on tape (yes cassette tapes), invested heavily into every popular informercial program you can ever imagine and studied every successful person I could interview or research. Later I would go even deeper by completing an in-depth year long professional coaching certification program thinking it would give me more credibility.
When I asked some advice from one of my early mentors from the country club who had experienced great financial success, he simply suggested to get into real estate or get into the mortgage banking industry, because a gold rush is upon us and “I didn’t want to miss it”. I was told that I should pursue my dream of being a personal development trainer when I “get older”, because no one would want to pay top dollar to listen to some bright-eyed young man like myself.
I’m an extremist, so I took his advice to heart and I jumped in with both feet.
I became a mortgage consultant and acquired a real estate license in order to keep my finger on the pulse of the local real estate market. It was a bit overkill, but I never got kicked out of local Realtor meetings where I built symbiotic relationships and acquired a lot of insider information.
As the years went on I managed and ran my own mortgage practice offices.
For years I loved making home ownership dreams a reality, developing systems, training sales staff, hosting seminars for real estate agents and potential homeowners. Something was missing though. I still wanted to make a bigger impact on peoples lives and I never let go of my true passion for personal and professional development.
After several years the real estate and mortgage industry changed and so did I. I knew I needed to shift and morph into another interrelated role. I needed to continue to exercise my natural teaching skills that I had with my understanding personal finance, consumer credit and steps to homeownership workshops. It just made sense to continue to work with consumers and acquire my financial series licenses to become a private banker with large bank.
Working with a large retail bank seemed like a wise idea, but after a few years it proved to be too rigid by stripping all the autonomy I had in the past to cultivate business. Also, being a victim of a few bank robberies (true story) made my decision to leave quite easy. It turns out large retail banks view robberies as par for the course of daily business. No thanks…..I want to live for my wife and daughter.
Fast forwarding to present day I decided to design my life where it suits my family and I better. I own and operate Pathfinder Management a Domestic and International Corporate Services and Business Consulting firm. Our firm mostly caters to a savvy international clientele. We provides a slew of services like company directorships, corporation formations, management services, bank introductions, merchant services solutions, yacht and aviation registration just to mention a few.
The most crucial service we offer for our clients is provide anonymity which is essential in the start up phase of any business venture and the invaluable advice we provide in our on going consultations. Our international clients appreciate this the most, because we help alleviate some of the challenges that come with establishing successful business practices in the US.
All in all I’m pretty proud of what we have built and our continued growth.
My team and I help build better entrepreneurs by setting them up with the tools they need to succeed. The magic lies within the solid long term relationships we have nurtured.
I didn’t share my past experiences and credentials to impress you, but to impress upon you that my real passion is where I not only impacts the lives of his clients, but my own as well. It is my goal that I attain true success inside and out in my own life while making a difference in my client’s lives. It truly is the law of reciprocity at work. Giving of myself and getting the satisfaction that I served as a positive catalyst is the biggest reward one can get.
My core belief from day one is I may work in business building, developing strategies and consulting for a living, but my real business is people. Empowering others and sharing sound personal and professional advice is not only a big part of my life, it is my life. Life is good……join me.