I started Eloquor in 2001, three weeks after 9/11. It took me three years to get comfortable with the ambiguity of not knowing when the next big project was coming in and the stress of selling and working projects at the same time. It took me six years to learn how to relax during slow periods.
A colleague told me early on “work begets more work.” His philosophy was that the busier you are with excellent work, the more work comes in the door. He also told me to never under value the value I could deliver to clients. These two, plus a deep commitment to teaching clients as I go, make up the foundation of my consulting practice.
Now, Obama has said that I and other small business owners didn’t build our businesses.
Let’s analyze a few of the comments, relative to this business owner’s personal experience.
“Somebody invested in roads and bridges.” Yep, that would be me with my tax dollars. Just like people do in countries around the world. Not unique. Not amazing. Certainly not what drives the entrepreneurial spirit here the US, because if it was, many other countries with roads and bridges would be as successful at innovation and small business as the US has been.
I work from home, so I don’t even have to use the roads and bridges much to get my work done. Yes, the Internet is responsible for my not having to use the roads and bridges much, so why don’t we take a look at the next comment, shall we?
The government created the intranet “so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.” Actually, it was the Department of Defense together with some private-sector companies and a host of universities. And they didn’t do it so others could make money, they did it to communicate and collaborate more effectively.
Back then, however, it was nothing like it is today. It took private industry and very creative people who saw applications the government might never have dreamed of to make it what it is today. Yes, people use the Internet to make money today â€“ good for them for imagining ideas and solutions that others didn’t think of or act on.
“If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.”Â He’s correct. I have had the help of my spouse, my children, colleagues who counseled me along the way, my lawyer and accountant (both of whom I pay for services), and colleagues who have worked side-by-side with me (also paid).Â I’ve never had to take out a loan on behalf of the business. I’ve never need help from the government.
“There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.” Sure, there might have been a public school teacher who influenced my career choice, but â€“ oh, right! â€“ my parent’s taxes paid for his/her salary. And frankly, the teachers who influenced me the most were my ballet teacher (paid for by my parents) and some college professors at my â€“ oh, right! â€“ private alma mater where I kept my grades high to keep scholarshipÂ and worked most semesters.
If you read my blog, you already know my political leanings. I wouldn’t have voted for him anyway. But as a small business owner, this one was beyond comprehension. Some defend the comments saying that his “If you’ve got a business â€“ you didn’t build that” comment was about my not having built the roads and bridges. He didn’t say “If you’ve got a business â€“ you didn’t build that road.”Â Of course I didn’t build the road. That’s just stupid to bother saying.
I think his true opinion came out accidentally. I don’t think he meant it. His messaging got away from him. It happens all the time. You practice, you try to stick to messages, and in the end, the deep opinion and belief slips out on its own.
So, Mr. Obama, I built it with the help of some very special people in my life â€“ not the government. And I refuse to apologize for my success. The fabulous and successful people I work with on a daily basis should never apologize either. Success in small business is a sign of strength, fortitude, creativity and for the vast majority great character. What have you built recently?