I strive to be a great family man, husband, father, friend and a person that treats others as he wants to to be treated. This applies to business and my personal life.
Being born in Detroit, Michigan, adopted by my grandfather, whom was a Pentacostal Preacher, I saw alot happen in my family and in the mean streets. It was very easy to get sucked into the chaos and moral decay that seemed to be always around me. I saw people doing any and everything for the love of money and a huge void in their life, that often led them down a path they never intended on.
Before graduating from Rutgers in NJ and moving to Orlando, Fl. I consulted for the Federal Reserve Bank and Goldman Sachs. Many people were simply cogs on a wheel, grinding out for the almighty dollar and then hitting the relief button in the form of drugs, alcohol or whatever other pleasure they could find to mask the depression.
Once moving to Orlando, I could “not” find a job, so I became a volunteer in the only project area Orlando has to offer, Ivey Lane Elementary school Title 1 program, geared towards low income areas. I went from making no money as a volunteer to minimum wage to eventually working directly for the school. I did everything a Technology Coordinator would do and a whole lot more. From fixing hardware and software in computers to video editor, website creator, assistant to the Dean for discipline, writing letters on behalf of the principal, lunch room duty, crossing guard duty and whatever else needed.
It felt like a dead-end, so I left for a full-time 100% commission sales gig in Payment Processing, know to some as Merchant Services. Even though I had no previous sales experience. My back was against the wall with one month’s rent to pay with a family of 4 on my one income. Luckily for my family and I, within a short period of time, I became the number one sales rep, tripled my income within 8 months, then quadrupled it the next year.
After almost 2 years being there, I realized what in the heck I was doing. It wasn’t exactly what I was telling business owners whom had families just like me. The company I was a consultant for had bamboozled me and I was their guinea pig, out doing their work, not knowing that I was taking advantage of clients. And, the company was also taking advantage of me.
This is the most money I’d ever made, yet I had to make a decision. Be in the good ole boy’s club, join the inner circle that knew what was going on, yet had decided that “it’s just business”, as long as they got paid. So, after I helped them to take advantage of a ton of people, something that was very normal in the industry, including banks that often were mimicked by much smaller companies, I could play ball as a team member or forfeit all the money I’d built.
So I left, started from scratch and went to consult with a different Payment Processing company in NY. Within 6 months, I was making more here than it took me to make in almost 2 years at the other place. Then, it started again, except this time, the company took the liberty of directly screwing business owners over.
The decision was made again. Keep playing ball, “business as usual” or walk away. So, I walked away and started my own, so we thought.
Since then, my business partner and I have gone through almost 10 years of getting screwed over by Payment Processing entities and banks and what many other entities do, is simply mimic the behavior in order to get ahead. It’s like a huge MLM in some cases.
We’ve learned a ton in the process. On the side of the Payment Processor and from a customer perspective. There are lots of checks and balances, many moving parts, lots of ethical and very unethical clients and sales reps that you must look out for or because we are on the hook for it.
Today, I’m the co-founder of an entity that was built from ground zero that processes billions in sales each year. We started with no loans, no gurus nor ethical bankers to assist us. What a learning journey indeed and it hasn’t ended.
I understand that companies need to make money, yet at what expense. Instead of being just another cog on a wheel, I’m a firm believer in ethical business and if I had to, I’d walk away again if it came to a point of ethics over money.
Nothing has changed even in the Payment Processing space.