Today I have the honor of interviewing an amazing man with a truly inspiring story. So often, I hear from entrepreneurs who are experiencing setbacks in life and business, some are heartbreaking stories. But most often the lessons learned through these setbacks assist the individual in embracing a positive perspective and an understanding that nearly anything is possible for the determined mind and spirit of an entrepreneur. Our guest today personifies that belief and will hopefully inspire you to continue your march as the freedom-loving thought leaders of today's society! He also offers some very sage advice for the solopreneur, so don't miss this one!
Years ago, John Giordano reluctantly walked over the threshold of a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center after an intervention by friends and family. Today he is the author of "Proven Holistic Treatment For Addiction & Chronic Relapse," and the founder president and of the prestigious G & G Holistic Addiction Treatment Center in North Miami Beach, Florida.
John's journey prior to rehab lead to the loss of a successful business, luxurious lifestyle, and most significantly, his wife, children and many friends. Today, John's life is committed to helping others conquer addiction and rebuild a life that has been lost.
Q. John, in spite of being in recovery from a crippling addiction, you persevered and started another business. What internal and external resources did you most rely on to find the strength and courage to do this?
A. My life has been blessed. I knew exactly what I wanted to do in life the day I walked into a dojo. I was fourteen at the time and I've been involved in Karate ever since. I've applied the lessons learned over the years to every aspect of my life — in both thick and thin times. I've found that what you think about, you bring about.
The first principle I live by is that you have to believe in yourself, because if you don't, no one else will. The next step is commitment. You have to be completely dedicated to whatever it is you chose to do -- no matter what. In Karate you learn to visualize — see yourself connecting with a kick or punch before you throw it. In life, you have to see yourself being a success before you do it. And finally be passionate about what you do. Your passion will not only fuel you, but also others nearby.
My greatest external resource comes from the people surrounding me. My immediate family has always believed in me and been supportive of my pursuits. Additionally, I associate with people whose philosophies and direction mirror mine. There is no substitute for a positive and reaching outlook on life.
Q. The desire to help others is a strong driver for many entrepreneurs. What do you believe that reaching out to assist others satisfies in us?
A. It is simply our nature, it's in our DNA. Everyone has a need to help others, but it's stronger in some. Speaking for myself, I've learned so much that has improved my quality of life from so many, that I feel compelled to share what I've learned so that the people around me can improve their lives. Yet we have staff members who are motivated by something completely different. What we have in common is that we all believe we are contributing to a better world, a better society. Regardless of what inspires us, there is no greater reward that we share as individuals or a group than watching our clients succeed. It just makes you feel good about yourself and what you are doing.
Q. Many solopreneur practitioners who are in the helping field struggle with charging for their services. Do you have insights that may help rectify that?
A. The mind is a strange thing at times. I had the same problem before I went into rehab. Here I was a world champion and my self-esteem was so low that I could hardly bear to charge my students for their Karate lessons. Rehab did wonders for my low self-esteem, but I also learned another important and valuable lesson. If you don't take care of yourself, if you don't charge enough, you're actually hurting more people than you're helping. I've seen more people than I care to count, who were capable and very good at helping others, move into a different field because they could not live on what they charged. It's sad when you consider how many people they could have helped if they just charged everyone a little bit more and stayed in the people helping business.
Q. Like so many determined entrepreneurs you started your business on a shoestring. Financing is one of the most difficult barriers experienced by business owners. What advice do you have for others who are facing the financial crunch, especially in today's economy?
A. Banks are just not lending right now so you have to look to the private sector. I got started with $300.00 dollars to my name and struggled for quite a while. Keep in mind I was involved with holistic addiction treatment which at the time was a blessing and a curse. It gave me a unique distinction above my competition, but at the same time not too many people understood what holistic was. This made it difficult to raise capital through conventional channels. At the same time I was wearing all the hats of a solopreneur — thus taking precious time away from what I do best, helping people. With all of this considered, I decided to bring in two investing/working partners: Jerry Goldfarb and Gerald Goldfarb. They handled the administrative and marketing aspect of the business freeing me up to do what I love the most, the clinical side. From that day forward G & G Holistic Addiction Treatment Center skyrocketed. As we grew exponentially everyone wanted to jump onboard and lend us money we no longer needed.
From my experiences and those of my friends, there comes a point in time in every solopreneurial business where you either raise capital and hire people; or take on an investor/working partner. I chose the latter so that I could do what I do best and find the most rewarding. Fortunately, it worked. If this option is not appealing to you, then you may want to consider private sector investors - they are always looking for a solid business to park their money. The best way to attract them would be with a good reputation, a proven track record and a real plan for future growth. If you're not able to attract one investor, try breaking-up your financial needs into smaller bites and take on several investors. Do keep in mind that a partnership is like a marriage — you have to have common goals!
Marla Tabaka is a small-business advisor who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She has over 25 years of experience in corporate and start-up ventures and speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness.