Monday Message – The Early Days

The Early Days

How many of you remember the early days of your business, or your career, depending on the direction you went?  For most of us, it wasn’t pretty.  Prior to starting my company, HPISolutions, or even prior to my 24 years in private industry working for others, I started a music studio in Chicago, Illinois.  I was just 22 years old.  I worked a full-time J.O.B., and my wife worked a part-time job as well.  Since she got home first, she could be able to open the store at 3 PM each day.  So, we pressed forward and converted a former butcher shop into a music studio with three lesson booths, a used showcase as a display counter, and various used instruments for display.  The Jerry Houston Music Studio was born… for under $100.  We lived in a tiny apartment behind the butcher shop and we were filled with optimism.

Half the $100 went for a “display ad” in the neighborhood Brighton Park Life newspaper for our “grand opening” and we were off and running… only nobody showed up for the grand opening… nobody.  To be absolutely correct, my mother came towards the end with a celebratory pot roast dinner.  This was a dark day and very discouraging for this hopeful new business.

However, we persevered, using all of our spare time away from our regular jobs, six days a week, and cleaning the store on Sunday after church.  After a couple of years, we had 60 regular students, sales of instruments (primarily accordions and guitars in those days), and a number of winning competitions in various events in the region to get known.  The little business eventually was producing a modest living, still on a part-time basis, and, after accepting a transfer to a new corporate job in Philadelphia, we sold the business for a nice profit.  All in all, a great experience for a very young entrepreneur.

The moral of the story, of course, is that you can accomplish anything if you set your mind to it, work hard, and have a passion for what you are doing, even with meager resources.  As Winston Churchill once stated, “never give up, never give up, never give up!”

Have a Great Week!