In 1996, I Was At The Lowest Point Of My Life.
That Was Also The Year I Started This Company With
A Determination To Keep My Promises To Every Customer.
My Journey From Literally Nothing To Successful Business Owner:
At forty years old, I started this company with $300, bus fare, and a gritty determination to be successful.
I spent $75 on my first contractor’s license on February 28, 1996. I bought some old tools from a pawn shop, including a beat-up miter saw, an old jigsaw, and a deck gun. I got a $15 tool belt from Home Depot, and I had just enough left to run a small ad in the Gazette Telegraph.
My $300 budget spent, I landed my first job. It was a $4,800.00 project. But, to say the least, there were some obstacles. For one, I didn’t have a driver’s license or a vehicle, so everywhere I went I had to take the bus, ride a bike, or beg rides.
But I had decided one thing: I was going to do my absolute best on this first job, and every job from then on. That first deck took me 30 days to complete, and I only made $300. But I had finished it and it was done right. I had kept my promise. Here is a picture of that first deck:
How Did I Only Have $300 To Start A Business At Age 40?
There is a long answer to that question, but the short answer is: the disease of alcoholism.
The damage my abuse of alcohol had done to the first part of life – both personally and professionally – is almost incalculable. Relationships were torn. It had tremendous economic costs and even legal troubles from DUIs.
My alcoholism had brought my life crashing down around me. Now that I have been sober for almost two decades, I have more perspective, but at the time I had no idea if I could ever escape.
And that’s where I found myself at 40. I was dead broke and had no place to go. An extraordinary man named Coyt invited me into a home he had established to help men get sober. He gave me part-time work in his masonry business. After 6 months, I was asked to manage the home. I had also saved up that $300 that I used to start my business.
Why I Started A Decking & Outdoor Environments Company
I had a burning desire to stay sober and to start my own business. I chose to start building decks. When I looked at the skills I had, this path made the most sense. I had a background in Architectural Technology, Structural Design, Civil Design, CAD, Studio Art, and Graphic Art – all skills I could use in my new business (and continue using to this day). I had also worked for a custom deck company in Denver for a few years.
So I designed a logo for Decks R Us, spent my $300 budget, and moved forward in a positive direction for the first time in a long time.
How Doing My Very Best For My Customers Assisted My Recovery
Now I’m not going to tell you that running my own Colorado Springs deck-building company is the whole reason I’ve stayed sober. Credit for that goes to working the recovery program itself and meeting my future wife there. She has been my rock and we support each other every single day.
But running this business the right way has been a cornerstone in turning my life around. It’s hard to describe exactly how, but at the lowest point of my life, I firmly decided that I would make this work – no matter what… and no excuses this time.
The key ingredients of what would become a successful business were: the support of my wife Karen, my determination not to give up, and my iron-clad promise to do right by my customers.
Why I’m Telling You My Story
There are three reasons I tell customers my story.
For one, when you meet me you will find that I’m an open and honest person. I enjoy talking with homeowners and I believe in being transparent with everyone.
Another reason I share this story is to give people hope. Maybe you have a family member who is battling an addiction and you wonder if they can turn their life into a positive contribution. It can happen.
Lastly, I want my customers to know that I’m 100% serious about delivering on my promises. In some ways, the story of a pre-recovery alcoholic is about broken promises and damaged relationships. The story of my recovery has been one of doing what I say and being accountable for my actions.
My life now is my wife Karen, our two wonderful sons, and this business. Nothing is perfect, but this journey to a successful family and business life has been very rewarding.
I’d be honored to create a special deck or outdoor environment in Colorado Springs for you. Give me a call and I will guarantee to give my very best to your project.