Finding Yourself: Determination

I remember my first ever business deal. I was in sixth grade, the Lakers and Celtics were playing in the Finals, and I conducted my first ever sale on eBay. I was selling some trading cards and a few old Xbox games for around $100. Already, I had to learn skills on how to communicate and negotiate with people, decide whether or not to do free shipping, and take the risk of making less money during low-bid auctions. Doing all of that helped introduce me to the thrill of business, but it also taught me the value of a dollar. With my first ever sale, I treated myself to a $25 pair of Ferrari sunglasses. Even though my parents had bought me much more expensive items than that, the feeling of having accomplished something on my own was priceless.

Growing up, I was always motivated by my father. He was, and still is, a successful businessman who has continuously inspired me to follow in his footsteps and love what I do for a living. Even through spending over 31 years in the finance industry and starting multiple businesses, he had always managed to be a wonderful father to me and make sure that I was still encouraged to be great, all with a smile. His adult life involved getting divorced and having to deal with the crashing of the stock market several times, but that could not stop him from witnessing almost every one of my basketball, football and baseball games. That is something that I desire to do for my future children and family. Another influence to me was my step-father who is an entrepreneur and is successful and has taught me many lessons not only in my personal life, but my business life as well. 

Some of the lessons my father has taught me include accountability, time management and self education. Self education is particularly important, for while I believe schooling can provide great knowledge, there are just some things sitting in a classroom can not teach you. A marketing major can take as many classes and spend as much money on books as they want, but they still have almost no real-world experience until they start their first internship in sales. Another view I have always had is when I see a nice car drive by, I think to myself, “Wow, what an honor it must be, I need to learn how I can be the one in the driver's seat.” By taking action through experiences, one will be able to understand who they truly are, not what their peers tell them they are.

For me, entrepreneurship is a great example to showcase personal responsibility. If someone wants to run their own business, starting as quickly as possible will help them learn from experience understand more of what that career path looks like. While many young entrepreneurs believe money is the reason why they are unable to succeed, I believe the truth is that their own self-doubt gets in their way. In order for results to be found in a person’s career, they must take action on their own. Through my own personal experiences of starting an eBay business, mobile detailing service, and other endeavors, I now believe that through experience you can understand who you can become. As the late entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, “the essence of life is growth.” It has been my mission to be in business and make the most of a happy and enjoyable life.

Matthew Engel