Wes Melton

Thoughts about Business, Life, Family, & Stuff

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You have to spend it before you have it so you can have it

The ole’ adage is true – you have to spend money to make money.

For us at my company this has continually looked like discussions where one of us will say, “We have to spend on X”, and the other says, “I don’t think we have the money to do that”, and then the other will respond, “I don’t think we can afford not too.”

And that’s how it goes in business. Especially in the early years, calculated risks on an on-going basis are your lifeline. You’ll never have the money to grow like you want too, or need too. To beat the growth curve, you have to spend even when you don’t have it on activities that are going to result in immediate growth in sales and expanded user base.

It’s illogical. It’s terrifying. How do I make a decision that could literally sink this ship we’ve been struggling, striving, fighting to build day after day for years now? How can I know that the right decision is to do something we can’t afford to do in hopes it will pay off? You can’t. You can only hope that you’re right, and take the risk.

For us, it’s paid off. Every time, by the grace of God, we have made it through, even when we think the next decision could flip us over and fill our bow with water. We’ve continued to grow, expand, and make it one more step forward.

But it’s all about risk and reward. The more risk, the more reward – or piling heaps of life sucking dung. But that’s life. Paralyzing fear isn’t doing you any good. So spend those dollars!

Don’t sit still. You can’t stop moving, stop growing.

If your business isn’t growing, it’s dying. So don’t think you’re preserving your business by guarding every single dollar. You’re not. You’re probably killing it anyway if preservation and not growth are your objective.

Most people say that anything in business is possible if you have enough money. But money shouldn’t be the reason you can’t make your next business objective. Think about what you need to do strategy wise to grow. Take money out of the equation. Just think about what you need to do, put a plan together, and then do it and trust that it will pay for itself.

Again, it’s illogical. Having been through it over and over again now, it still seems ridiculous – but it’s been true for us time and time again: You have to spend it before you have it so you can have it.

Take your own risks. Run, don’t walk. Take notes along the way.


Money is not your personal success metric

It was 10pm on a cold January night. My business partner was out of town, and I was the lone man on the ground out here running our operation. Due to a series of terrible, terrible mechanical failures at one of the properties we manage, I found myself in a bathroom, with gloves, a mask, and a dust pan scooping up human waste from the bathroom floor.

Apparently, as luck would have it, when a guest had drained a tub upstairs, about 30-40 gallons of water surged down to the bottom floor, and then proceeded to back-flow out of the septic system out of the toilet and the bath tub, and filled the tub and covered the floor with a nice thick layer of the most disgustingly terrible thing I’ve ever had to deal with.

My partner felt like crap. 8 hours away, and all he could do was make calls and try to find someone who could get out to the property and help me fix it. He kept apologizing that he wasn’t there and kept encouraging me that I was going to get through it. He felt so helpless. He was a lot more help than he thought.

It was while I was dealing with this mess (ugh), that I found myself pretty distraught. Frustrated. Gagging in my mask repeatedly. Trying to figure out how someone who had just wrapped up a whirlwind year, breaking 7-figures in sales our first year, was now on the bottom floor of a property literally dealing with someone else’s crap.

But this was a pivotal moment for me. I thank the Lord for it honestly.

I realized, while I was brushing all sorts of semi-disposed waste particles from the base boards with a toothbrush, that money is not a personal success metric. Money – dollars – are a business success metric. Breaking 7 figures our first year in business was amazing, but it was completely irrelevant to my life, my joy, my personal feeling of success that night. Honestly, most days it makes little difference to how happy I feel.

Obviously, our contributions to a business directly influence the financial success of the business, but it’s all too easy to confuse the success of the business with your personal success and satisfaction. I definitely feel a sense of accomplishment some days when things are going well, we’re having a strong month, landing another deal, etc. All of it is Grace, and we’re thankful for it, but it has been invaluable to me to realize that the numbers on a P&L are a much greater indicator of  the fact that I have a job tomorrow that is able to fund us doing something we’re passionate about, than it is of how successful I am as a person.

Getting the two confused(personal and business success) are the reason I see a lot of folks get their personal priorities all screwed up – they’re just so convinced if they can get that business to just make another dollar, or cross a financial line, then they’ll finally be happy.

That’s a dirty lie.

How much the business is making plays very little in to how I feel on any given day. It doesn’t make me any happier when I have to go scoop up some poop, then when I get to close another sale.

That’s why you have to find what you love to do. Work hard at it. Be an honest person. Be passionate every day. Get up, fight for it. Strive for it. Learn as much as you can. Keep showing up. Take the risks. Give it 100% even when you’re tired and burnt out.

The dollars don’t ultimately matter to your feeling of personal satisfaction. If they do – your priorities are broken. Get that through your head, and you’ll be set up for a lot more success that will matter a lot more through your life then how much your business made in the previous year.

Sometimes, not rolling the dice is your biggest gamble

If you’re early on in your first business venture, here is something you really need to know: Anyone who tells you that you should always know the right decision to make when you’re at a crossroads is a liar. Furthermore, anyone who thinks they’ll know all the decisions to make is an idiot. Read more

Stop whining. Get to hustling.

My first year in business was absolutely exhausting. When we started our venture, I was working my 8-5 job in corporate america, coming home for a quick dinner with the wife and kids, and then off to my business parters home office to work from 7-10 (sometimes later). Every day of the week we did this, and it sucked.  A lot. Read more

Love your business enough to kill it yourself, or someone else will.

The number one mistake I see a lot of people make when running their business is falling so deeply in love with the idea of their business – their dream and vision – that they fall in to a paralyzing fear of making any decision that could destroy or jeopardize what’s been built.

After years of passionately striving, fighting, and growing something from nothing, they get to a place where they’ve “made it”. They can finally afford to run the business and pay themselves too. They’re not stressing over every little decision. The business isn’t at risk because a customer leaves you today. You did it. You created something out of nothing.

But then what? Are we naive enough to think that the market place is going to just stay static in our paralyzed dream state with us for the next 50 years until we get ready to hang up the towel and ease in to retirement?

If we are – we’re really, really stupid. Read more

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