I was raised just outside of Chicago, in a middle-class household that held strong morals, ethics, and values.  My father was the first in his family to earn a college degree, coming from a family of Italian immigrants, and hard-working laborers.  As a child, I observed, and soon realized, there would be no handouts given.  You reaped what you sowed, and I quickly learned the value of hard work, as well as the value of the dollar.   Earning your way was the only way.

My parents had expectations, and those expectation were to “do it right.”  There was little room for grey on the matter.  It was simple, do it the right way, or do it again until it was done right.  What created frustration as a child, went on to insert a strong drive to succeed, and served me well as I entered college, my 20s, and then my career.

After spending a few years in a corporate setting, learning some valuable, I had a conversation with a friend of mine that was moving to the Southwest.  It was winter in the Midwest.  As I spoke to him, it didn’t take me long to be convinced to follow and spend the remaining winter in a sunny, warm climate.  So, I packed up my car and headed west.  The idea was to stay a couple months until spring and head back home.  I never did, and that decision would change my course.

A couple of months after arriving in Arizona, I had an interview, and was offered a position with a .com startup company that designed, created, and sold online IT training during its infancy.  I had never seen an environment like this one, and I was hooked from the start.  There were entrepreneurs everywhere I looked, and a whole new world was exposed to this middle class, midwestern young man.  It was time to fully implement those traits instilled in me as a young child.  The environment was fast paced, and difficult to succeed in, but I was determined to do it right, and the internal fire and drive inside of me soon took over.  I was going to succeed, and be part of this rollercoaster, no matter what it took or where it was going.  

After a few years went by, this startup did what most startups do.  They went public, and soon after was acquired by a major player in the online IT training space. By this time, the entrepreneurial spirit had been deep-rooted in me, and would open my door into franchising.  I had worked with a gentleman that came from the franchising world, was very successful, and was planning to start his own franchise consulting business.  I was in, and up for the next challenge that a startup company would offer.    

Little did I know where that decision many moons ago would lead me.  I fell in love with franchising and working with like-minded folks looking to fulfill their entrepreneurial quest.  Over the past two decades, I have been a franchisee, a franchisor, and well educated in the “ins and outs” of franchising, including franchise development, marketing, operations, and everything in-between.  

They say a person is smart if they learn from their mistakes.  However, if a person wants wisdom, you learn from other people’s mistakes.  I have made, and watched, plenty over the years.  Now, I am fortune enough to be in a position to help fellow entrepreneurs determine if franchising is right for them.  And if it is, offer them guidance and wisdom to do it the right way.