Today, nearly five and a half years after I first approached Inc.'s CEO Eric Schurenberg, I give you my 53rd and last column.
I had never written professionally before Inc., let alone taken a journalism course in college. In fact, I dropped out of high school in my senior year and proclaimed to my mother, "Don't worry about me. I'm going to be a rock star." Those were brave words--especially since I had no idea how I was going to go about it.
A lot has happened to me since I wrote my first Inc. article.
Netflix came out with an amazing documentary about the early years of Twisted Sister. Our drummer A.J. Pero died unexpectedly. In 2016, the band decided to retire from performing after an incredible farewell tour that had us playing to crowds of upward of 110,000 fans. But most significant, our songs have become some of the most licensed music in the history of heavy metal. And February 2, 2020, "I Wanna Rock"--will be used for a commercial during the Super Bowl!
Twisted Sister's crazy story of survival reads as the ultimate guide of sustainability and reinvention, and it all started 48 years ago with a simple passion. Through lots of hard work, it become one of the world's biggest bands in the 80s. I also became a successful manager, music publisher, brand manager, music licensing expert, writer, and motivational speaker.
Soon after getting the writing gig here, I was contacted by several other publications. Within a year, I got a book deal from RosettaBooks to write my autobiography. That book has evolved into a business memoir, The TWISTED Method of Reinvention, which I'm writing with Steve Farber, who is also a motivational speaker and best-selling author.
But all the paths I've gone down has been because I believed I could. I took chances--a hallmark personality trait of anyone who considers themselves an entrepreneur.
I never took a guitar lesson. I can't read music. I never took a class for anything, but I immersed myself in reading everything I could to work toward fulfilling my dreams.
My mom and dad, Lou and Evaline Segall, were incredible people, very smart and very fair. My mom was a political consultant and proofreader for Simon & Schuster in the 1960s. My dad was a jewelry salesman, who started out as a professional writer in the 1950s for a national magazine. That didn't pay very much so he had to give up his dream as a writer to become a jewelry salesman to put bread on the table for the family. My dad was incredibly smart and erudite, and he encouraged me to read The New York Times cover to cover every day.
That made me curious and that curiosity has led me to learn, to try, to never fear failure, and to carry on.
My parents may not have understood how and why I chose the life that I did, but they believed that I could do anything.
I've learned and honed my writing skills with the guidance of some amazing editors at Inc.com who kept me focused and taught me so much about how to communicate effectively.
I also married one of the smartest people I have ever known, Sharon Gitelle. Together, we met and became very close friends with Norm and Elaine Brodsky, whom most of you know as long-standing members of the Inc. family. They have shown us, through their incredible generosity and philanthropy, that age has nothing to do with following your passion.
To my Inc.com editor, Janice Lombardo, through all the rewriting you put me through, you made me a better writer. Thank you!
And finally to Eric Schurenberg: You didn't have to hire me. There was no history I could show you. You just believed.
And that, my fellow entrepreneurs is where it all begins.