It’s Time To Move Forward

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Five years ago I would have never imagined I would be where I am today. Not only were we broke, behind on all sorts of payments, but we also had almost 25k in high interest credit card debt. I didn’t have consistent work and needed to find a way to provide for my family and dig out of the hole we were in.. After talking with some friends of mine, they encouraged me to just take a step forward and try something that I loved. That day I started to buy and sell things on Craigslist. Then I started a blog to record the crazy venture. Not long after that I started buying, selling and repairing appliances and have gone on to sell and deliver thousands of appliances over the years. The blog ended up being much more successful that I thought and eventually led to teaching people how to get into the appliance business and eventually the creation of ApplianceSchool.com Now that has turned into a very successful venture and just keeps on growing. Our debt has also been paid off. All because someone was willing to take the time to sit me down and encourage me to move forward.

Have you ever looked at someone that has achieved a good amount of success and found yourself muttering to yourself that they are nothing special? You see where you are at, then you see where they are at and it just blows you away that they have become more successful than you. Here’s the thing. Those that accomplish great things aren’t always the most talented, or the smartest or even the ones that work the hardest. Most of the time the thing that sets them apart from everyone else is that they were willing to get moving. They act on ideas instead of just talking about them. My goal with this post is to encourage you to focus on a course of action and get moving, and to just take a step.

What sort of ideas are you talking about?

I’m talking about starting a business, building something, inventing something, writing a book, improving an existing product or anything else that you’ve always wanted to do, but for some reason have never done. I’m talking about taking risks and doing things you’ve always wanted to but for one reason or ten, have never tried.

What if my idea doesn’t work out?

That’s ok, most ideas don’t work out. You can’t spend your entire life trying to get really good at coming up with good ideas without ever trying, and failing. Learning what doesn’t work is almost as important as learning what does. Everytime you try something and it doesn’t work out, you learn from it and move on. As time goes on you become wiser and your ideas begin to get better. You begin to recognize that maybe your first idea wasn’t so bad and you discover an even better idea along the same path. The best ideas are almost always discovered while you are moving.

There is a lion in the streets!

There will always be a lion in the streets, and a thousand other irrational reasons why you shouldn’t try to accomplish your goals. Here are some examples of where the lions come from.

1. Parents. Some of the lions come from our parents who only know how to give advice and encouragement if it involves us doing things exactly the way they did. This can be an especially hard one as we have built in such a strong desire to please our parents.

2. Snipers. Snipers are good at accomplishing nothing in life except discouraging others from accomplishing anything. They sit back and and try to snipe anyone that is trying to move. You can recognize and ignore a sniper by noticing that they are lightening quick to criticize your ideas, and extremely slow to ever encourage you in anything. Best not to associate with snipers.

3. Family members and old friends. God bless them, but sometimes those that were closest to us when we were young can be the most discouraging to us as we grow older. They tend to have the hardest time accepting that people grow up, mature, become wiser and can accomplish great things. It’s just too easy to remember our weaknesses and shortcomings and to imagine that those could be overcome. If this is one of your biggest source of lions, it’s often better to move out of the town or city that you grew up in and get a fresh start and a blank slate.

4. Depression. When we are depressed the world is by default half empty at all times. The odds are against us, there is no hope and we feel like there is no reason to even try. I’ve dealt with depression occasionally over the years. It will kill your ambition and at times gives birth to more lions than you can count. You have to focus on dealing with the depression before a right view of the world will be restored. I’ve found a few things very helpful.

A. First, eat healthy foods. Cut out junk food, soda, too much beer, eat smaller portions, eat more vegetables etc.

B. Exercise regularly. This is a huge one. It gives you more energy, helps keep us in shape, keeps us at a more healthy weight, you will have more energy and you feel better about yourself.

C. Spend more time outside. The more time you spend outside the better, especially if there is sun. If you need to, for your own well being, move somewhere that has more sun. Or take vitamin D supplements.

D. Spend more time with people. Depression has a close friend, and his name is isolation. Force yourself to get together with friends even if you don’t feel like it. It will help you take your mind off yourself.

The hard part is that there are legitimate reasons why it might not be wise to pursue a particular idea. Which leads me to the next question.

Who should you be listening to then?

Seek out other people and friends that have taken risks, lived life slightly unconventionally and that will listen and encourage you. Some of the most encouraging people in my life over these past number of years have been those that have also been laboring hard to start their own business. They understand what I have been going through and have experienced the ups and downs of trying new things or ideas. They aren’t always going down the same path, but they are moving, they aren’t on the sidelines. An ounce of experience is often worth more than a ton of theory. Find other people that are moving and listen to them, especially if they have found some level of success.

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What should you do?

I would recommend following your skill. Often times that which we are best at is what we really enjoy the most. If you are good at writing, it’s most likely because you’ve spent a good bit of time working at it. Make a list of ideas and then put them in order or circle the top idea that you can’t seem to shake. Then, take steps towards accomplishing it, today. Keep working on it until you achieve it or it morphs into something else.

When I started, I had no idea what I wanted to specifically do. I knew what I wanted my life to be like, and I really liked business and buying and selling things. When my friends Chris and Jason put me to it and asked what idea I wanted to run with, I told them buying and selling items on Craigslist. I started later that day, and the rest is history.

It’s time to get moving

It makes me sad to see people with so much talent, skill and abilities sit on the sidelines for so long without taking action. So many ideas, plans and dreams lie dormant without a bit of effort to make them happen. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Everything can change in a moment by simply taking a step and beginning to move. If you have someone in your life that you can get together with, share your plan with and have them keep you focused and accountable on your plan, awesome! If you don’t, let me and this post be that person. Find the thing that you want or need to do and just do it. Work at it today, even if it’s just a little bit. Make some progress towards your goal and then tomorrow work some more. Learn as you go and always be keeping your eyes open for opportunity. Be stubborn to never give up your long term dreams and goals, but be flexible about the details and path that will get you there. I would have never imagined I would get into the appliance industry, but that’s where my steps have led and I couldn’t be happier.

What do you want to run with?  What are you going to do? I’d love to hear your ideas, dreams and goals!

22 COMMENTS

  1. I’m currently on a contract for three years. As of now, I’m unable to start the appliance business I want. So, I decided to start selling photos through royalty free stock companies online, since I love taking pictures. I want to diversify and increase my income streams. In two to three years will be starting an appliance business for main income and moving into owning rental properties as well. Further down the road, owning a cattle ranch with my brother.

  2. Because I am single female with a garage, I am wondering how to contract with heavy lifters with trucks for delivery of washers and dryers. I also have not been trained on washer and dryer repair, however I have always purchased used washers and dryers from the same guy for 20 years. Do you have any words of wisdom or other ideas for me. I have been very successful in sales for many years, but now I am 64 and would like to earn at least $2000 per month by working from my home.

    I considered professionally installing new ice makers as I just paid $250 to have mine replaced and in doing my research, an ice maker’s life expectancy requires replacement every 5 years. Also I read that parts are only $10 and a new ice maker assembly is approximately $120, allowing $130 in profit.

    I first read your story months ago and I sincerely believe you must have a genius IQ. I am smart, not highly mechanical, and excellent in sales and customer service. How could I use this combination of strengths?

    Thank you in advance for your kind response.
    Dee

    • Thanks for the note DeeAnna. I think the best way to go is to see if there is someone in your existing network with the ability (strength, truck/trailer etc) to help you out with moving the appliances at first. You want to work with people you can really trust, especially in the beginning.

      Moving the washers and dryers to and from the place you are going to work on them is the biggest issue to overcome. Once they are there, you can test, repair, clean and list them for sale without very much difficulty. So figure out how to get the machines to your place, and depending on how you want to structure your business. (Delivery or not)

      There are many niches inside the appliance business that can be gone into. Ice maker repair and many other repairs are definitely possibilities. It all just starts with effort. Try something and see what the response is. If you need to be able to offer the parts or services for cheaper, figure out how to get the parts for cheaper (I can help) and undercut everyone else on price.

      I’m not very mechanically inclined, but I’m driven and because I needed to learn how to diagnose and repair appliances to grow my business, I did. Anything is possible if you are willing to put your mind to it. If you have a strength in sales and customer service you will automatically put you in a great position to succeed in the appliance business haha

      Let me know if you have any other questions!

  3. I have know for years that I do much, much better self-employed. I find that most people simply do not understand me when I say that I am not cut out for office work. It is monotonous to me, and it has never brought out the best in me.

    I crave the freedom that being self employed gives me. I am currently self employed, and I’ve made enough to support myself, but it is not a field that is sustainable for me for much longer. I’ve proven to myself that I am capable of managing myself, and that I will get the work done,

    I’m a woman, I should add. My biggest obstacles in creating a business similar to yours would be how to haul these appliances around. I can get a truck. I don’t want to hire an employee because I don’t want the responsibility and this business model won’t support that; but I can probably find enough people that would be interested in working “this afternoon, today” to go pick up a washer and dryer. I’m not sure how that would be handled with business paperwork, but that’s why we use CPAs.

    I’m pretty good with tools, and I’m really, really good at studying things fast; I don’t think that learning to fix washers and dryers would prevent me from being able to do this. I’ve found several resources online for how-to on that. I’m not afraid of this part.

    Here is what I am afraid of: I can’t be at an extra curricular activity or a chaperon on a field trip or taking my kids on adventures for spring break or vacations if I am “stuck” in an office Monday through Friday. I’ve done that before, and mostly, it left me feeling drained, guilty, rushed, frustrated, and more depressed than I care to remember.

    I do deal with the nay-sayers. I also deal with the people who tell me that I am so well educated that I “deserve” or have an obligation to find a “better” job. I’m just not concerned about that. There is no prestige that comes from barely making ends meet while having all of your time taken up in an office, making that barely sustainable wage.

    Flexibility with my time means so much more. I don’t need a prestigious job, working all day, every week. That never worked for me. What has worked is working for myself. What I loved was the freedom and the thrill of making money for myself, without someone overseeing me. That is how I thrive.

    I’ve got my fingers crossed. I am considering ordering your online course, but I’m not sure if you would be addressing the obstacles I’ll be facing (finding the man power to haul things around).

  4. God bless you, Ryan. Thank you for how you encourage the sideline sitters [myself] . . . those who hold their toes a hairs-breath from the water, afraid to dip in. Going to try a bit of writing and see where it goes.

  5. This is a great post Ryan!

    It was this very principal that I embraced to write my book last year and that I’m rallying around in two different projects (one of which is the Appliance School) so that instead of lamenting where I am now I can ACTIVELY work towards getting to where I want to be.

    It’s so easy to just watch the world go by and wait for something positive to happen, but it’s hard to actually get off your duff and make it happen. I think of my favorite line from Freewill by Rush: “if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice”.

    So if we are going to make a choice regardless why not make a choice that advances our position in life?

  6. 5% inspiration, 95% persperation get’s er done. Each failure is a lesson. I would have never guessed how all the seemingly random skills I learned growing up would come together to help me in my business. Great post Ryan. From a place with sun.

  7. To the females, I am a male that has been in the female world since the 90’s. No, not ‘THAT’ female world, for some reason I’ve had a a few businesses that people think belongs to a female. So if you want help, I might be able to relate to you.

    Change is hard…. I’ve worked for myself since the 90’s and it’s still hard. I decided one morning to sell my businesses in Omaha and move back to my home state. I sold them with no problem…. moved to Texas and guess what… the house I moved from in September 2007 sold for $705,000 and in December 2007 the price of that house dropped to $221,000!! Now the reason I told you that is to tell you this. I had been in business for myself for a looooong time! I had just sold all of my businesses and everything tat went with them!! No place to live, no work… it was an empty feeling. I won’t lie, it was scary but I focused and started a new business here. And once I got started here I found a GREAT worker who turned in to a great friend at the time. Everything started to take off a little and about that time was when I found out how far the price on the house had fallen. Just think… if I had stayed in that house just 3 more months it would have been worth almost $500,000 less! And, by selling it all when I did, I met a great person that helped me start my business again.

    Humans don’t like change. Our brains weigh less than 3 pounds and they are usually stuck on 1 track. So you’ve got to push yourself… let go… see what happens. I’ve tried every single business idea (except 2) that I’ve ever had. They didn’t all make much profit except my cleaning businesses but it’s what I learned from all those failures that has given me the experience and the upper hand on my competition in the appliance business. You do know what happens if you wait until tomorrow don’t you……

  8. Ryan

    This is amazing stuff , when ever I need a lift in running my business , I usually read your ” starting from zero ” article it always reminds me of all the opportunities there are out there. I am going to add this to my reading list .

    Keep up the great work .

  9. Eating healthy is super key (and often overlooked) in my opinion. I’ve been putting in 10-12 hour days between my flooring business and the appliances and I hit the wall hard half way through the week if I don’t have super clean eating habits. You definitely don’t want to overlook nutrition when doing allot of physically strenuous work. Thanks Ryan 🙂

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