Some Things Money Cannot Buy

I live in an uninsulated shed in a crazy lady’s back yard. My rent is $385 per month, and I drive her around town for rate reductions. I am also slowly depleting my savings while trying to start a business that I’m unqualified to get an actual 9–5 job. I’m starting this business because I know I can hold my own in this space. I don’t know if it’s going to succeed, but I know that the experience is worth its weight in gold.

On the surface, a few thousand dollars per month would solve all of my “problems”. But really, despite my modest living, I am blessed with a certain drive and tenacity which cannot be taught in schools and certainly cannot be purchased.

Grit, Integrity & Hustle

Money can only buy hustle if you know how to delegate it, but it won’t turn you into a hustler. It doesn’t buy integrity. It can’t buy the ability to execute, make decisions, or overcome obstacles. And it certainly cannot buy street smarts. These things all take practice, hard work, and a certain level of grit.

I fail every single day. And every time, I get back up and move forward. Sometimes it’s a slow crawl, sometimes a manic sprint, but I am always moving forward.

Case in Point:

Last year, I worked for a successful business owner of a copier company. He was entering his seventies and was grooming his two intelligent and college educated sons to take over as he slowly faded into retirement. Or that’s what he thought.

Both sons and I were in our early 30’s. I was excited to be apart of a successful business where I could possibly be a c-level executive in a few years. This was particularly appealing because I have multiple felonies and am a college drop-out. People like me don’t get many of these opportunities.

I really worked hard. The owner took a big chance bringing me on and I wanted to prove that it was the best decision he could have made. I wore a suit every day, put in 12 hour days, came in on holiday weekends, and absorbed as much knowledge as I could about the business so that I could help carry on his legacy with his two sons.

The two sons, on the other hand, didn’t give a flying fuck. They came in at 10am, took 2 hour lunches, left at 4pm, etc. They talked about how much work they had to do all the time but never actually accomplished anything.

These guys had absolutely no work ethic. The were self entitled, lazy, spoiled and totally rude to the other employees. They would often talk about how their family made so many sacrifices for this company while getting in their new Mercedes to take an extended sushi lunch, while the next nicest car in the lot was missing hubcaps.

The sons also had temper tantrums. These are 30 year-old men in suits smashing their new iPhones against the wall because their dad was displeased about their performance.

It probably didn’t help when I started generating more sales than both boys combined even though they were given dozens of accounts to manage and I had to find new ones.

The ex-bank robber, college dropout who ate canned tuna and top ramen every day and bought his suits at the Goodwill had better manners and outperformed (in business, sales and relationships) the two college educated men who had every financial resource within their reach.

Long story short, despite all the money the boss and his two sons had, the company is going down the drain. Morale is at an all-time low and his “legacy” will only be a couple of dip-shits who over analyze, condescend others, and under perform.


70% of second generation family-owned businesses fail. These are businesses that have been successful enough to be passed onto the children of the founder. That means 30% will succeed until the next generation (where the stats get much bleaker).

That being said, 50 percent of new businesses fail in the first year and 95 percent within five years. Will these stats stop me? No. I believe I am an outlier. And if I’m not one today, I will fail over and over until I hit that 5%. Considering how many times I have already failed, the odds are beginning to look in my favor.

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