An entrepreneur’s journey is never easy. You take risks; the buck stops with you; you are never “off the clock”; and sometimes you lose sleep. But as the grandson, son, and son-in-law of entrepreneurs, and as an entrepreneur myself, I know firsthand that the benefits of being your own boss can far outweigh the challenges. Perhaps chief among those is the freedom to choose when and how you work. Owning our own businesses and creating residual income have given us the freedom to work hard and play hard, to travel, to spend time with family, to coach my sons’ sports teams, and to play golf. And after shouldering the risks and spearheading the workload, entrepreneurs receive an overwhelming sense of accomplishment when their businesses succeed.
So how does one embark on their own entrepreneurial journey? Here’s how it happened for me.
In 1997, I graduated from NC State with a degree in Business Management with a concentration in finance. My first job out of college was in finance, as I wanted to eventually be a financial advisor. However, I was bored and unchallenged, and I knew I was spending my time building someone else’s dream, not my own. It was then that I knew there had to be more fulfillment in working for myself. By 1998 I had left my career to become a business manager at my father-in-law’s engineering firm. There I learned from him how to own, lease, and manage real estate properties, how to run a business, and how to turn a profit. Having gained this knowledge and experience, I was inspired to get my real estate broker’s license in 2005 and opened my own real estate company, Higher Properties.
My first business venture was to buy three small rental houses by using the equity in my home for the down payment. This was a great investment because it appreciated while the rental income from the houses more than paid the mortgage and expenses. I later bought a small apartment complex and several other residential properties and learned to leverage real estate debt to build residual income.
In 1999, I was given the opportunity to build a self-storage facility. I had no experience or knowledge in this area, so I researched how to develop and build it. We found an ideal property, but the contract was contingent on being able to rezone it from residential to commercial. The rezoning process was very difficult. I dealt with the headaches of bureaucracy and with neighbors who opposed the rezoning. My general contractor stole money, leading me to fire him and finish the building process on my own. It was the hardest thing I had ever done. There were many times during that process that I wanted to quit, to go back to my boring and uninspiring desk job, because it was safe and predictable. But after finishing Dutchman Creek Self Storage and building another income stream, I never wanted to work for anyone but myself again. Having to be my own general contractor and finish the building process on my own taught me that I could build ministorage without a general contractor. So in 2006 I started Packman Mobile Storage, in 2008 I built Harris Lake Boat Storage, and today I have plans to build more.
I have seen God’s hand guiding and directing every step of my entrepreneurial journey—granting favor, wisdom, and protection. I have seen this happen for my wife as well. In 2012, she was inspired to start a business of her own in order to pay for our youngest son, Bennett, to attend Cary Christian School. Surrounded by entrepreneurs her entire life, she has a passion for teaching and empowering entrepreneurs. She has been able to do this with Rodan + Fields, helping women grow micro-enterprises to create residual income with freedom and flexibility. She has also been extraordinarily successful, generating more revenue from her business than we have from our self-storage businesses. Together, we thank God all the time for the opportunities we pursued, the risks we took, the hard work we were fortunate to put forth, and the blessings he has bestowed, so that we could create the kind of life we want to live and give the way we want to give.
ABOUT SUPPORTING BUSINESS SPONSORSHIPS
Cary Christian School is grateful to our Supporting Business Partners. Their support enables us to pursue our mission to provide an excellent classical education founded upon a biblical worldview. These companies are helping us to make great strides in improving our programs and campus. They support us as we seek to promote student growth in all aspects of life and to create a beautiful atmosphere in which our staff may serve the Lord.
Our Supporting Business Partners are making an impact in many areas:
- Classroom technology updates that support the teacher-student relationship
- Teacher development
- Additional parking
- Tuition assistance for families in need
- Facility enhancements for Academics, Athletics, and the Arts
Please join us in thanking them for their contributions. Show your support by patronizing their businesses.
Is your company interested in becoming a CCS Supporting Business Partner? Contact Erica Spivey, Director of Marketing and Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919.303.2560, ext. 252.