This is a bunch of interviews with entrepreneurial minded people who work from their homes. And they all live right here in Tennessee. You don’t have to have the perfect upbringing or the right setting, (to be specific they all live in small counties) it’s up to you. You chose whether you are successful or not.
Here are a few things that might encourage you all! With out further adieu…
So I thought it was about time that I did an article about entrepreneurs and working from home.
Although I’m not as successful as all of these guests we’ve had I do understand the freedom that we can have working from home and I thought I’d share the thoughts I’ve had about all these interviews.
While the rest of you have been reading, I’ve gotten to meet, interview and talk to these amazing people…but the biggest thing that I’ve picked up is they aren’t supernatural..
“The major difference between a big shot and a little shot is that the big shot was a little shot that kept on shooting.” Zig Ziglar
In other words none of these people have something that they were born with, nor did they get it on the first try. Sonya had been in four network marketing businesses before she found Plexus. Thomas has had many investments that didn’t return and Anthony didn’t jump into the rental business without spending months of preparation.
Then what’s something that they all had in common so far?
LUCK – Laboring Under Correct Knowledge
They studied, learned from their mistake, kept running, didn’t quit when it got hard, and they stayed focused.
They are where they are today because of what they did yesterday. They were prepared because they were willing to take the time to learn what they needed to know.
How many of you have had dreams that never happened because you quit? How many have you have thrown up your hands and said it’ll never happen? Or how many of you have quit before you started?
Success is only achieved through relentless persistence. Those who fail on the first try are most likely going to be more wise than those who never fail at all, IF they learn from their mistakes.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill
The desire for the goal must out way the fear of the obstacle if one is to succeed. You must be willing to put your heart in it if you expect anything to be accomplished.
“Don’t dabble in 25 different things or three or four different things.” Anthony Courter
As Anthony said focused stands for following one course until successful. You can’t run three races and win them all.
“Sometimes you have to lose a battle to win the war.” -Donald Trump
If you truly believe that God has called you to a re-sale, or network marketing etc. then do all as unto the LORD. Don’t leave a job half finished, complete it, stay focused on one thing.
To sum up what the others have said…
Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams, apply yourself, and trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.
Lucas Botkin – CEO and Founder of T-Rex Arms
Lucas Botkin is the CEO and founder of T-Rex Arms a well known holster manufacturing company that was started only a few years ago. The company exploded and has grown quickly. It is debt free, employs three people full time and two people part time, the company broke six figures in a year, and has 23,000 followers on Instagram. Their equipment has been featured in magazines, on websites, and is widely known in the self defense industry. I’m very excited to bring this interview to you all. It took me a very long time to get it so enjoy!
Why this business?
I started T-Rex arms because I wanted to help people, and I was watching the holster market and seeing a lot of holsters out there that weren’t very effective. I wanted to make a more effective product to make more effective shooters. I wanted to make a product that was very high quality and have very good customer service; I wanted to have really good marketing and then I also wanted to use the company as a platform to teach people and instruct people in more effective weapon manipulation, how the legal system works with shooting and carrying a fire arm, and the importance of having a warrior mindset to protect people. Having a company like that gives me the platform and gives me some credibility so I can teach on that using my company.
I started the company a year and a half ago in September of 2013, it’s now a full time job for me and two other people and we’re hiring two more people. We supply holsters to thousands of people including special operations, individuals, law enforcement, competition shooters and civilians like me.
What were your goals in starting this business?
The primary goal of the business was to help people. The secondary goal was I needed a job and it’s now my full-time job which is very helpful. The third goal was I wanted to give people employment in my church, and creating a manufacturing company allows me to do that, if the company gets big enough because with manufacturing companies you can hire a lot of people generally if they get big. But the main goal was just to help people, so I could establish some credibility to teach on things and produce effective equipment to help make people better shooters which make them better protectors.
What are some things you did to get your business off the ground?
The main thing I focused on was marketing because what I first did was studied all of the different holster companies out there and what they were doing or what they weren’t doing, the main thing that I found was that they had low standards for media and promotions, they weren’t marketing very much if at all. So what I did was I had a very good website, I attacked marketing very viciously mostly social media, because that’s something they didn’t do. I had high standards for all my photography, the website, the writing for the product descriptions, just high standards for everything; essentially so the company would look extremely professional right off the bat. Most companies start off very unprofessional and then later they get more professional as they get bigger, I wanted to be professional right off the bat. So that’s what I targeted doing, that set me apart from all the other companies and because of that the company exploded very quickly, and I attribute most of that to the marketing. Because people aren’t going to buy a product if they can’t even find the product, because they have to find the product to even know if they can buy it or if they should buy it, so marketing was the main thing that I focused on first.
What are some lessons you’ve learned through this?
If you start a company you have to work extremely hard, you don’t really get any perks for being a CEO until the company is off the ground. I work six days a week from when I wake up to when I go to bed I still do, although now I have the flexibility to take time off whenever I want … almost. But when I first started the company it meant skipping parties, skipping weddings, skipping events, skipping personal things that I wanted to do, and just working like a mule for the first year. And most people have to understand that if they want to start a company, you can’t just start a company and expect to take time off whenever you want, that usually doesn’t happen until quite a bit later, so you just have to work super hard if you want to if you’re a CEO. As soon as you start hiring people you’re responsible for them, if you slacken your job than sales drop and that means you may have to fire people, and firing people means that they’re out of a job. You’re responsible as a CEO.
What kept you going?
What kept me going was my desire to help people; that really what kept me going over anything else. With all the people that stabbed me in the back and hated on my company, I was still able to help hundreds of people I’ve gotten emails from people every week and the encouragement helped a lot but what really kept me going is knowing that I’m helping people in doing this business. It’s not just a business that’s making money it’s also a business that’s actively helping people and that’s what keeps me going.
What are some tips you have for the readers?
Work extremely hard and don’t take anything for granted. Probably the most important thing is to work hard in anything you do. Do it as if you’re doing it to the LORD, that’s the main thing which means you have to work extremely hard you can’t really do anything half way you have to go all the way if you want to do something, like I did for my company and like I’m still doing. So just work really hard. Most people think if they’re a CEO they get all the benefits and perks right away, but that doesn’t happen, you have to work hard, because you’re responsible for the customers, you’re responsible for whoever you hire, you’re responsible for your time and how you spend it obviously, so there’s no time to just piddle around.
Jessica Courter – Co-founder of Two Old Beans
Two Old Beans is a vintage clothing shop that was started by two friends. Jack and Charlie (or Jessica Courter and Ellen Vernier) live in TN with their families. Interviewed here is Jessica who lives with her 10 siblings that are still at home. You may remember that I interviewed her father two weeks ago who is also a successful entrepreneur. As to her familiarity with vintage life, her family just finished putting on a WWII reenactment in TN this past September and will be hosting it again this year. I hope you find this interview encouraging and inspiring as I have always found her to be.
1. Why this business?
Well, I already had an interest and intermediate knowledge base in vintage clothing, so it really made sense for me to try and do something with this desire. I also knew that vintage clothing is a currently expanding market, so with enough business sense it could be turned into a viable business.
2. What made you start?
The opportunity came along for me to partner up with Ellen, so I took it. I have always been hesitant about partnerships because of the cautions throughout Proverbs, so I thought about the decision a while before I actually went ahead with it. I think that as long as both partners understand the dangers and potential struggles with partnerships, they can make it work. Honestly, in this case, I feel like partnering with Ellen almost triples our effectiveness and potential because our passions + goals are so similar and our skills mesh up extremely well.
3. What were your goals in starting this business?
These goals have morphed for me as the business has grown and progressed. Originally I was hoping for a nice little side job that the two of us could work together and make a little money at, but more recently, I’ve been working to turn this into a full blown operation. Currently this means Ellen and I are involved in every single step of the process, from buying, to sorting, cleaning, mending, photographing, listing, shipping, customer service, paperwork, marketing and a host of other things, but I’m hoping (and believe it’s quite possible) to streamline the process to where it requires minimal work and/or we start hiring out jobs.
4. What were some things that you did to get your business off the ground?
Invest time. Lots of time. Ellen and I talked over marketing plans and ideas and then we just dug in. We hadn’t a clue what would work and wouldn’t work so it took a lot of time at first, but by being attentive and persistent, it eventually paid off and we’ve already learned a lot about what works best for our market and have been able to cut our time down considerably. We also researched what other companies were doing and tried to learn from them. However, I think the biggest thing that we’ve done that has helped get the business going is just being there for people — whether its on our etsy store, instagram, or anywhere else, we try to be super fast with responses, as helpful as possible and very relational. Ellen and I are both relational people, so that last one comes fairly natural to us, but I think (at least in our market), that people really appreciate our effort to connect with them as people, not just buying customers.
5. What are some lessons you’ve learned from this?
Strategy is super important. The saying “if you don’t know where you’re going, than any train will get you there” is true. You really need to be forward thinking in starting a business — trying to accurately predict business growth is really hard when beginning, but you need to be thinking about the possibilities of both a boom or bust. Knowing when and how much to invest in new equipment and merchandise is really important. So I guess the best thing I’ve learned is how to think through things, set goals and take the appropriate action.
6.What kept you going?
More like what keeps me going, since we’re nowhere close to where we want to be :] To be honest, it’s really the knowledge that I simply need to be making money! But it’s also knowing that by getting this venture running on it’s own, I’ll be able to pursue some of the other dreams I have! I find all this stuff really exciting to me :] Besides, starting and running your own business (when run right) is a very rewarding experience.
7. What are some tips you have for the readers?
I guess it would be just do something — find where your interests already lie and see if you can capitalize on that to create a business. By doing this you’ll be making money and doing what you love. Maybe you don’t know for sure if it’s what you want to be doing for years to come, but get some goals and start. In the process of just beginning, you’ll learn a multitude of things that you could never learn by just thinking about it. Your goals can and will change as you grow, but you have to begin somewhere. Something I like to remind myself of is that avoiding failure is to avoid progress. If you want to get somewhere, you have to be willing to take risks. Remember, there is no victory without a battle and there is no elevator to success. Take the stairs and make the most of what you already have!
Anthony Courter – Real-estate
Anthony Courter lives in Linden, TN with his wife and 11 unmarried children; his married son’s family (wife and child) live not to far away.
He is a successful rental owner and has taught many others what he’s learned.
His love for history took his family on a journey to Europe for the 70th anniversary of D-Day last year, and many other historical places across america.
As a previous pastor his love for the ministry has taken him and his family to places like Brazil, Australia and New Zealand.
I’m so glad he took the time for this interview I hope you learn much from his advice.
WHY THIS BUSINESS?
“I got into the rental business because I knew it was going to meet my goals for being with my kids, and giving me freedom from earning a wage by the hour, and giving me freedom to serve other people. So that was the main reason, really the only reason I got into rental property.”
WHAT MADE YOU START?
“It was my goals, absolutely.”
WHAT WERE YOUR GOALS IN STARTING THIS BUSINESS?
“My saying was I wanted to grow up with my children, which meant I wanted to be the main instructor in my children’s lives. So that meant I wanted to be around them every moment I could be, and so that’s 24 hours a day 7 days a week. So I was looking for something to have my children with me so I could teach them.
I was looking for something that would give me freedom from just being a wage earner or just working by the hour. I wanted to be paid for my ideas and not just for my time. And another fraise I was using was a slave to money; I didn’t want to be a slave to money.
The third one was I wanted to be able to serve other people and do it for free, and I wanted to at least do that for half a year. Give half my year away to other people. I realized that too many men were working for the hour and by the hour and because of that it gave them a different mentality. How they viewed money, what they were doing with it, because what they were doing was trading the most valuable thing that they had and it’s, there’s no way to put a value on it; they were trading their time, their health, their future and relationships with other people for a monetary amount, something that has a little bit of value. They were trading something that is basically priceless for twenty dollars an hour, fifteen dollars an hour or hundred dollars an hour or whatever it may be. But they’re still trading something that has a value beyond description for something so monetary as just a few dollars an hour. So I wanted to be paid for my ideas not my time.
So those were my three things.”
WHAT WERE SOME THINGS THAT YOU DID TO GET YOUR BUSINESS OFF THE GROUND?
“I was LUCKY. I “Labored Under Correct Knowledge.” I did lots and lots of homework, read lots of books. What I mean when I say “homework” and “I labored under correct knowledge” is, I read every book, real estate book I could find, I went to every library I could go to, and I would ask every investor I came in contact with; how’d they get started, what were they learning from the process, if they would do it again. So I had some people that told me that they didn’t want to do real estate ever again in their lives, I’d ask them why and I wouldn’t let them discourage me, I just wanted to find out why they discouraged it. I found guys that who were doing it was successful at it, so I asked them what they were doing that was good.
I got newspapers and I tried to find rent values, prices of housing, and lots of things like that. I started going to different banks, trying to find out well what are the qualifications to borrow money. So that was the first thing that I did was I tried to education myself as much as possible. So there was about six months that I was really wanting to do something but all I could do was just, all I did was just homework, because I didn’t want to make a $40,000 or $50,000 mistake especially since I wasn’t making very much money. That was a lot of money at that point in my life and so I was very careful in how I was investing my time, and I wanted to make sure I was doing something with my time that would education myself.”
WHAT ARE SOME LESSONS YOU’VE LEARNED FROM DOING THIS?
“That if somebody sets their mind to it, anything’s achievable, without question. I was making $125.00 a week, didn’t have any money saved, to speak of I didn’t have any money saved back (I had $1,000.00 I had saved back from a job that I had had before), Michelle and I had two children at that point in our life, and I’d never bought a house. I had many people that were trying to discourage me, by just saying, get a factory job, stay there you’ll be happy, you’ll have two weeks of paid vacation and everything will be fine and hunky dory and you’ll get all these benefits. I would just say that if someone sets their mind to doing something and do the correct homework and don’t let their emotions drive them but letting wisdom and knowledge drive them I think they can do anything that they set their heart to.”
WHAT KEPT YOU GOING?
“The sheer fact that I knew I could do it and what the end goal was. Getting my three goals that I had, which were again; growing up with my kids, not being a slave to money, and giving my time away to other people for free.”
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU WANT THE READERS TO HEAR?
“Become focused, focused stands for “following one course until successful.” Don’t dabble in 25 different things or three or four different things. When I was doing real estate I wasn’t doing anything but real estate. I exaggerate when I say that I was eat, drinking and sleeping real estate, but reality is past my scripture reading and time I was spending with my family and the job I was working, (I was working another job) I spent every moment I could think about real estate I was thinking about it, reading again and then trying to understand the principles that were there. Asking other men about the things I had learned.
Something else is to just make sure that you’re applying yourself, and then just don’t be gathering knowledge but actually do something with it I could have done all that. I have a lot of people that they’ve asked me a lot of real estate questions, and they’ve asked me a lot of real estate questions, and they’ve asked me a lot of real estate questions. They have lots of knowledge, and they have lots of knowledge and they have lots of knowledge but they’ve never acted. So there’s a time when you need to do your research and you need to act upon it and not be driven by fear or by greed but by the wisdom of knowing that what you’re doing is a sound choice and it’s not, again, driven by your external emotions.”
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SUCCESS?
“Well, I guess I could say after doing this since 1992, (so it’s been 23 years) I was able to quit my job after four years of doing this and so I started this back in 92, I started the factory job in 91 and with in September of 95 I quit my factory job. And I was able to meet all the goals I desired, because I was now financially independent enough, I only had $1,000 a month coming in but my wife and I decided we were going to live off of that. Because we were able to stay within a budget and I was able to purchase the houses I did in those, basically about three and a half years, I was able to meet my goals and so I would say that I was very successful at meeting the goals that I desired to reach and it gave me the freedom to do many other things in life.”
Sonya Dudley Diamond Ambassador with Plexus Worldwide
Sonya is a Diamond Ambassador with Plexus. She lives in Linden, TN with her husband and two children. She travels around America speaking at conferences and even hosting some. She is one of the most influential people in my life and I’m so happy she made time for us in her SUPER busy schedule. Wildly successful and very humble, I can’t think of anyone I would rather host today.
1.Why this business?
Well I feel it gives me the freedom to create a life and not just make a living. I have the time, money and freedom to do pretty much what is important to me and that is what matters to me most…..
2.What made you start?
My best friend sold me on trying this industry just one more time by saying, “If the products worked for me, then I could help tons of folks get healthy as well” And I knew the investment was so so small, I thought, well WHAT IF this does work, and this could be our financial answer as well as my health answer… and it was…
3.What were your goals in starting this business?
Just to share with every single person I knew and to post on facebook daily to see where it would lead and I was consistent. So after a month, then I really was like, I think I can take this thing all the way, and started focusing on helping many people with the business aspect of this…. and 10 weeks after joining I quit my full time job…
4.What were some things that you did to get your business off the ground?
I live in the town that I was raised in, I already knew everyone and them me, so really just talking to people every where I was and posting on facebook, that was it.
5.What are some lessons you’ve learned from this?
People will disappoint you, THEY have to want this for themselves, you can not want it for them…. People quit too soon, they do not know work ethic anymore…..People are not willing to change old habits so easily when it is more comfortable to stay the same…
6.What kept you going?
Really never thought about quitting….I was always with the people who shared their life changing stories, so if any day got bad, I always thought of them… and what If I had not shared…
7.What are some tips you have for the readers?
Do not be scared to go after your dreams. If you do not, no one else will and you could potentially regret it for the rest of your life. The pain of regret is the most painful emotion to take to the grave.
8.What is your health testimony?
I was in bed for 15 months with Fibromyalgia a few years ago. When I finally got well enough, I had to find a job outside the home, which I had never done before. I had always worked for myself in this industry. I went into sales. I did that for 6-7 years and even though I was better, I was not well. I hurt a lot all over, I was tired ALL the time. I had high cholesterol, and I struggled with weight. When I started on Plexus, right away, I felt like a new person. I was sleeping all night, no naps, no pain, and cholesterol dropped 50 points in month one. I lost 12 pounds and felt amazing. After a couple of months I was able to get off all my meds with my doctors approval. I have my health back and that is everything….
Thomas Wilson – CEO and Founder of the A.R.T. foundation
Thomas Wilson is 23 years old and lives in Linden TN. He is the owner of the A.R.T. foundation and works with men in the community. His business surrounds the resale of liquidated merchandise which he has been quite successful at. He continues to grow his network through conferences and grows his ministry helping families and individuals grow their income.
“I started buying and selling liquidated merchandise in Jan 2013 for the purpose of building enough cash on hand to invest in rental property to build passive income so that I have freedom to not be a slave to a wage.