Shortly before the November election, I will celebrate the completion of 10 years in business as the President and Owner of an Insurance Agency. One that my wife and I have built with our own sweat and long, hard hours chained to a desk with almost no time off.
In July of 2002, almost exactly 10 years ago today, I was notified while on vacation in Orlando Florida that I was being laid off, a victim of the total collapse of the tech sector.
I have spent most of my time after leaving the Navy working on and learning computers and both voice and data communications. I have always taken pride in the fact that I was able to make a living doing something that was also my hobby. Few people are actually able to say that.
9/11 had something to do with the loss of my job, but I believe the most devastating blow was also the most profitable aspect of the technical sector. Y2K. Remember the “bug” that had everyone afraid that ATM’s would quit working and planes would fall from the sky?
Well, every company and individual upgraded everything they owned with a plug in the last couple of years of the 1990′s. So on January 1, 2000 everybody just stopped buying. Boom. Totally flat.
Real Estate did well as did some other aspects of the economy. But everything from Digital Stores to Dot Coms all went belly up.
I managed to hold on for a bit over a year and a half, but it was obvious that it would be a while before people were ready to buy new computers. They already updated everything.
I got a severance package, but that was only going to last a few months. I had to find something fast.
After a month or so, it became painfully obvious that I was not going to find anything very quickly and decided to take things into my own hands. I decided to open an Insurance Agency. I had no experience in insurance in my life prior to that time, but it was an opportunity I believed I could handle.
Between the end of August, 2002 and November 2002, I had to learn insurance, pass the test – which is no easy task – and somehow find a location, furnish it and make money. And money was something that was in short supply, being unemployed and all.
No problem, right? There is plenty of assistance for people wanting to start up a business isn’t there? Obama said so!
Well, no. The Small Business Association was not interested. My bank was not interested and the dozen or so other banks I spoke with were not interested in helping me get off the ground.
In the end, I had to do what almost every other entrepreneur is forced to do. I had to get an equity line on my house to open a business that would, hopefully, not only pay back my equity but provide enough income to support me, my wife and our two kids.
The government was absolutely no help. In fact, the biggest obstacle I had to overcome was the government. Federal, State and Local government folks all came by with their hand out. Insurance licenses, business licenses, inspections, rules, regulations, and hurdle after hurdle.
I can honestly say that I do not owe one drop of gratitude to the government Obama believes is responsible for my success. I have done something most new businesses don’t do – survived for 10 years – even under this horrific Obama economy.
There is one thing that I am sure of, though. If I was forced to start this process all over today, I would not be willing to risk my house in the economy that Obama has built and I would have been afraid to hire a single employee.
I am still the president of the agency, but my wife, who has every bit as much invested in this venture as I do, maybe more, is running the office day to day. I begin every day at 5:00 AM and spend at least 90 minutes doing the preparatory work for the day, and I give my wife a break on Saturdays and work that one day per week. But each morning after I do the prep work for the agency, I head out to my IT job that I have had for the last 5 years.
You see, the government did not help with my health insurance (I sell mostly Auto Insurance) and I had to pay a lot to keep coverage. And it was very hard to make those payments every month.
But I didn’t go whining to the government and demand that someone else pay for my medical care. I found a job that provides health insurance and also happens to be the type of job I love.
No, Mr. Obama. I don’t own my success to you or to the government. I owe my success to an attitude that I can do for myself. I don’t need government to help me and neither did most of the small business owners across America today. My story is not unique, it is the norm for entrepreneurs.
At least it used to be.
I have survived unemployment, I survived the lack of anyone willing to loan me the money I needed to start my business and I managed to overcome the roadblocks that were in place to slow my progress.
But I am one of those “old school” people who were taught that hard work pays off. That depending on government or the kindness of others is a losing bet.
My wife and I both put in at least 80 house every week between the two businesses and I still find time to do everything I can to get you and your lazy “America is Unfair” attitude out of our White House.
I would love to expand my insurance business. I would love to hire more people. But as long as the best you can do is tell me I should be thankful for the government that built my business, I will continue to do everything I possible can to elect someone to the White House that understands work ethic. Someone who believes in the American people and not in the American government.
I don’t want a handout from the government. I want the government to get the hell out of my way so I can prosper.
Sometimes I feel like I am trying to make a difficult three point shot to win and you are the point guard in my face doing everything you can to make me miss.
It is so painfully obvious you are not on my team and not on the team of businesses.
And the really sad thing is, if you would either work with us, or better yet, get out of the way, the economy would recover and unemployment would drop like a stone.
No, Mr. Obama. You are due no gratitude for my business. You wouldn’t make it a week doing what I do.
You are too dependent on others.