The Most Important Lessons I’ve Learned in Business

The Most Important Lessons I’ve Learned in Business

How I learned the most about myself when times got tough

After months of stressful waiting, we finally received our license in 2003. We were finally able to open our doors to those hurting with addiction.

Through all of the lessons experienced through the building of our business, none would be as humbling as our next teacher, marketing.

Because of our struggles trying to obtain a license, we put our marketing on the back burner. After all, why worry about the guests if they didn’t have anywhere to stay?

As we both had experience with addiction, and through our research learning about the industry, we figured all we had to do was open the doors and people would flood into use our services.

That simply wasn’t the case.

Build it and they will come?

Before we secured our license in January of 2003, we felt pressure to get people in the doors and start generating some income. In addition, we never refined our treatment program. We hadn’t found counselors to treat the guests we didn’t yet serve. We were desperate for anyone to bring in some money. We thought of any way we could bring in money without license from the state of Utah.

Our first decision was to set up a website. This enabled us to begin marketing our property as Sober Living, a safe and sober living environment for recovering addicts that provide room and board, no treatment.

A few weeks later our phone rang with our first customer, Carol from Wyoming. We were on our way.

We were gracious she paid us $3,000 per month to live in our facility. Lisa prepared meals (when she was in town from our home in Vegas) and I maintained her room, on top of my all my other duties. We gave her all the support and encouragement we could. She felt like a member of our family.

Team building: Full- or part-time

Despite our first customer, we were dying. We would have done anything legally, ethically, and morally to get some money coming in. Things were so bad, in fact, that we didn’t have a machine to run credit cards. We had to run Carol’s credit card through my dad’s nightclub business. Ironic, don’t you think?

It was only during this process that we realized we couldn’t afford to pay for doctors or therapists. Without a license and a steady stream of income we would have drained our working capital in a few months.

It was because of what we learned from studying Rich Dad, in particular CASHFLOW® Quadrant, that we knew the doctors and counselors we were after were highly educated and specialized individuals. They prefer to do things by themselves in the S quadrant.

This worked out perfectly. We slowly found a few contracted doctors, counselors, and therapists who agreed to come on board on an as-needed basis. We only paid them for services performed instead of a full benefits package we would need to pay if they were full-time employees. It was a win/win.

Something is better than nothing

After we obtained our license in January, we cut deals with just about anyone we could to get people into the system. Though we set an original price of $12,000 per month, we were letting some people in for as little as $1,200. Remember, we were still getting this proof of concept off the ground. We knew what we wanted to build, but we still didn’t have the staff in place, experience to back up our decisions, nor capacity yet to pull it all together.

We found ourselves testing different things and refining processes daily in an effort to build the business of our dreams.

But there’s one lesson from Robert that truly made all the difference. And it was only through our state of emergency we were saved by it.


I’ll share it with you next month.

If you want to read more about our story, grab a copy of our book The Social Capitalist.

Original publish date: July 01, 2019