START EARLY, SO YOU CAN RECOVER IF YOU DON’T SUCCEED

“Time is on my side, yes it is”

“Time Is On My Side” by The Rolling Stones

I was 18 when I first experienced the entrepreneurial spirit. In my youth I was patient. Seemed like there was lots of sand in the hourglass.

Time was on my side. Yes, it was…


Welcome to the restaurant business

After eliminating a few potential ventures, I settled on a full-service restaurant. I had worked both the front-end and the kitchen and had a mentor to guide me.

Unfortunately, his advice led me to a restaurant venture that was much too large and doomed from the start. His faith in my abilities was overblown, and horrendous economic times made it worse. The bank assumed control after 3½ years of struggle.

A subsequent smaller fast-food venture was not sustainable either. Food court wars are no easier. I had to make the tough decision to let go of my restaurateur dream.

The clock is always moving.

I’m out of here

I was in my mid-30s when I bailed on a full-time career as an entrepreneur. It allowed me the time to find a secure job, hunker down, and get financially stable. My family had to scale back on our household purchases, more specifically treats. I found the cheapest beer and rationed it. And I still had to repay certain financial commitments. Bankruptcy didn’t eliminate all obligations.

Our three children were oblivious to our not taking a vacation for the next three years. And the car I drove was a junker. A humbling experience all around.

Luckily my wife had a job as a schoolteacher. This allowed us to have a steady income and we were able to live comfortably during the recovery period. It’s surprising what you can easily do without.


A new plan

I was fortunate to use my education (Admin Mgt) and experience to secure a position with a school board as a school business manager. Managing the school cafeteria was a bonus and allowed me to still dabble in foodservice.

Bouncing back from the financial hit was not easy and it took decades, but I was young enough to weather it. The final cost was not easy to digest. Even then, I still took a chance on an unsuccessful board game about restaurants (DUCK SOUP…The Restaurant Game), and I’m still financially committed to this blog. It’s manageable now though and it’s satisfying work.

To consider investing time and money in a venture – they’re all risky – when getting on in years can be foolhardy at best. Retirement will not be a good one. Time is not on your side.

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