How many times have you heard someone give up on their dreams because they don’t have the money, don’t have the time, don’t have the knowledge, or don’t have the resources? I’ve heard it a lot. And then I think to myself… How did John D Rockefeller do it? How did Thomas Edison do it? How did Oprah do it? How did I do it?
I started my first real business at the age of 19. It was a painting company. I had a couple hundred dollars to my name, that’s it. I couldn’t afford to buy ladders, tools, material, and supplies. But I had a credit card with a $1,000 limit, so I used it to print 500 door hangers for $150. Over the winter of 2004-05, I drove home from college (4 hrs each way) every other weekend, trekked through snow & freezing temperatures, and door-knocked houses that had visibly chipped and chaulking paint. I told them I’d be doing work in the area over the summer, and asked if they considered putting a fresh coat of paint on their home. About 1 in 5 people had me quote their home. And about 33% of the homes I quoted ended up hiring me to paint their house. The average job size was $4,000. I would take a 20% deposit on the job, and schedule their painting for May/June once I got out of school. Over the course of the winter & spring, I was able to contract 9 jobs before the summer started. At an average of $4,000 per job, and taking a 20% deposit on each… I had around $7,000 to buy ladders, painting tools, and supplies. Then I opened a credit line at Sherwin-Williams to buy the paint. As soon as the jobs were completed and paid in full, I was able to pay off the Sherwin-Williams credit account, pay my painting staff, and put a profit in my pocket. I made enough that summer to fund all of my travels during my semester abroad in Europe the following school year.
Why do I share that story? Because I didn’t have money (I was a punk 19 year old kid with only a credit card). I didn’t have time (I was in college full-time, 4 hours away). I didn’t have knowledge (I never painted a house before). And I didn’t have resources (I didn’t know anybody who had done anything like this before).
But what I did have was the ultimate resource – RESOURCEFULNESS. If you are resourceful, you can find the answer. By definition, resourcefulness means ‘having the ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties’. I focused on the opportunity, not the obstacle. Instead of making self-deprecating statements of why I couldn’t do it, I asked myself thought-provoking questions of how I could do it.
I firmly believe this is one of the most important traits of successful people. There are so many opportunities in this world. If you train yourself to be resourceful, you will be able to capitalize on those opportunities.