Hit by a car at 70 miles per hour, and lived!

At seven years old, one incident happened that would change my life forever. We were just a typical family living the dream of life in rural Indiana. I was having breakfast with my 5-year-old brother when I heard a loud screech outside on the road. I remembered looking out to see what happened but didn’t notice anything obvious.

A few minutes later, I hear ambulances and my neighbor rushing in to get us. My mom had been hit by a car while crossing the road to get the mail. The impact at 70 MPH Knocked her 50 Feet (5 stories). She should have died instantly. She didn’t, and almost 40 years later she continues to live fearlessly and walk (yes, walk!) to get everything she needs.

That day changed all of our lives forever, and speaking for myself, going thru that experience as a kid had a lasting, positive impact! It taught me how to care for someone. It showed me you’ve got to work hard and bust your tail for what you want, but most important; it first painted in vibrant color the definition of tenacity and grit. Both mom and dad had it and are exemplary models of it today.

Start with a “job”, then smash through that definition’s face

I had my first job at 14 stocking groceries and owned my first business at 15 mowing lawns and planting trees. Throughout high school, I found ways to keep myself busy, because the girls certainly weren’t lining up to help.

After I graduated High School in Ohio, I took a brief stab at college in Dayton Ohio, all the while running a baseball card trading business. It wasn’t your average baseball card trading business, though. I would go to shows on the weekend, negotiate a buy price for a card I didn’t own at the time with one dealer, then hustle the floor and negotiate a price with another dealer to buy it cheaper. I would then sell that card to the first target. No inventory was a good model for me because I didn’t have any money! That was the mid-90’s. Life was good. I was supporting myself, but I knew I was destined for more.

Those that know me understand how I value the word “expansion.” I believe that’s why we’re here. To continually get better as men and women, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, owners and employees. There should be no finish line in living life.

It’s the 90’s, let’s sell some stuff online, shall we?

Personal growth as the key driver, I transitioned into the late 90’s wanting to expand. I had a big desire to do something online, so I went to Circuit City to buy a computer. Credit denied. I made a trip to Radio Shack. Same story: credit denied. A host of other places, same damn thing! There was only one place that would give me an opportunity to use a personal computer, but the caveat was that it had to stay there. That entity? The library.

At the turn of the century, eBay was the destination to sell virtually anything you could imagine, and it’s thriving still today. I signed up for an account, took the username cyyoung (from my baseball card background) and got started. I jumped and screamed for joy, only to have the librarian “shush” me back to normalcy.

Now, I just needed something to sell. At that time, there was a craze going around the country. Every gift shop and Hallmark shop sold this major fad of the late 90’s. The stores couldn’t keep them in stock and no one knew how to get them, but I knew the secret!

Secret to success: The $7 small stuffed animal

Beanie Babies! I had cracked the code on how to buy (you heard it right) Beanie Babies. So naturally, I sold Beanie Babies on eBay, right? Not so fast. Still not in a financial position to carry inventory, I needed the plan to share what I knew. I created a 12-page manual teaching people “HOW” to buy beanie babies the way I did. These manuals sold faster than I could print them on my Epson Inkjet Printer. That first year, I sold over $100,000 in content teaching people how to buy Beanie Babies, of all things.

The lesson I’ll have you consider is this: There are massive pivots in life if you just open your mind and heart to receive them. Who would have thought mowing lawns would lead to selling baseball cards, or Beanie Babies the primary catalyst to generating over $12B in online mortgage leads, pivoting that to the number one online brand of window blinds and shades, Select Blinds? Entrepreneurial signals are everywhere; you just have to open to receiving them.

If you’re reading this, you have a story

So, that’s my dealio. Everyone has a story and dreams of something possible in their life. Whatever that is, I can tell you that self-doubt and lack of certainty are the biggest robber of dreams this world has ever seen. Your story has power, so be diligent in all your works and let confidence guide you to your destiny.
Rick Steele is a Harvard award-winning speaker, author, and serial entrepreneur. His current company, Select Blinds, is the number one brand of blinds and shades sold online, warming the homes of over a million customers. His new book “30 Days to Launch” hits stores and Amazon later this spring.