Becoming a millionaire, while keeping your job, is a safe way to get your million dollars in the bank. This story has three parts, first a young man getting a job that he loved, then the first business of a young man that could have made him a millionaire while keeping his job, and finally the second business that made him a millionaire while keeping his job.
Getting a Job That Becomes a Career
Ken Robinson joined the U.S. Army when he was seventeen years old and served in Desert Storm as an infantryman. He was twenty one years old in 1992 when he got out of the army with his young wife. They had only been married two years when he left the army. He was very happy to be hired into the Department of Corrections in Illinois as a corrections officer. This was a perfect career and he loved his work. But in the back of his mind, he always thought about having a side business, except he had no idea of what kind of business to start. Because he could never put his finger on what kind of business to start, he put off really getting started.
Starting the First Business with $200
Two years later, in 1994 on a warm beautiful day, Ken was sitting on the lakeshore fishing, but catching nothing. From his spot on the shore he watched a man in a boat out on the lake and it seemed like he was catching every fish in the lake. It made him a little envious and he decided he needed some extra money to buy a boat. It was time to think of a business and get started. His mind started racing and he started racking his brain on what to do. He did not feel like he had any real skills except being a soldier. Then he remembered that he helped a guy put a roof on a house once before he joined the army. He thought he could do that and he would only need some hammers and nails. So that was it. It wasn’t exactly his passion, but it was something that he could do. Everyone he told in his excitement gave him advice to include that he couldn’t do it, it was too hard, there was too much liability, there was too much competition and everything else negative that could be thought of to tell him. One day, when getting a haircut he told the barber his plan and barber said, “I need a new roof. If you know what you are doing and can do a good job, you can put a new roof on my house.” He had the barber buy the supplies. He hired two friends to help him, to be paid when the job was over and bought 3 hammers and some nails. Twenty three year old Ken Robinson was in business for less than $200 and still had his corrections position. He had asked and been given permission by his corrections boss in writing for his side business, so he was ready to go.
Ken knew that if he did a good job, the barber would be a great reference and talked to many people. He was right and shortly after he did the roof of a local salesman and he became a great referral. He barely made any money that first year, about $20,000 but the business grew. Ken worked the night shift as a corrections officer, would get off and sleep a few hours and them manage his business. The business grew fast and in just a few years, he had 19 employees and was running two crews. He wasn’t even lifting a hammer anymore; he just managed the business and got the orders. Four years later in 1998 he was 27 years old with a side business making him about $200,000 a year in his last year, with a career at the Illinois Department of Corrections he loved. Everything was perfect until he was offered a promotion.
Becoming a Millionaire
So far Ken started his first business and was successful. Becoming a millionaire was not his first goal, it was financial security for his family. His career was going great and he was offered a promotion to Lieutenant, but to take the promotion he would have to relocate from northern Illinois to the southern part of Illinois. This was a big decision. In just four years he had grown his roofing business from nothing to making him $200,000 a year and it would probably keep growing. On the other hand he loved his job, it was steady and had great benefits for him, his wife and three little girls. And he had to also consider that businesses do fail, even after a great start. Of course he asked his wife Barb, but no one could ever ask for a more supportive wife and her answer was “You do what makes you happy. We’ll be alright whatever you decide.”
Ken had a choice. He could take the promotion and sell his business or resign and work full time on his business. Check the next post for Part 2 to see what Ken decided and how he got to $1,000,000 in the bank.
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