I’m going to start the write of Aspects of a Deal as a blog. At some point, I will transition to an actual manuscript.  For the blog, there may be some areas where I will be vague, particularly when it comes to any active deals and where I haven’t been given permission to use the actual names of some of the players. Given these restraints, I’ll be as candid as I can be.

Let me say this upfront, at times, my language can be vulgar. When I’m sharing my internal thoughts you will get my raw thoughts.  There are occasions when I have been vivid in my expressions to others.  I won’t apologize for who I am and consequently, I won’t apologize for the language.  If you are sensitive in that respect, this might not be the read for you.

If you’re reading the blog before the book gets published, it will be kind of raw, unedited. One thing I hate to do is proofread.  What will most likely happen is that I’ll make some edits in hindsight in the blog but engage a professional editor when we get done with the manuscript.  For any of you that read the blog and cringe with typos and casual writing, well, if it’s too much for you, I won’t be offended if you stop reading.

I’m starting this blog/manuscript in the middle of a new deal, a new venture.  Regardless of the outcome of the deal, I will surely include the details. It’s important to appreciate both failed, successful and incomplete deals so you can understand the cycle of a deal, the Aspects of a Deal if you will.  One of the things that has been part of my maturation as an entrepreneur, is managing my emotions relative to transactions.  Not every transaction gets done and not every transaction should get done. Entrepreneurial maturity gives you the strength, knowledge, and courage to know when to walk away.  In this blog/manuscript you will see ventures that I did that I probably shouldn’t have done; ventures where I stayed too long and you will see deals where I said fuck it because it wasn’t going to be good in the long run.  I think a cool thing you will see is me pointing to a couple of transactions that should have gotten done and I just didn’t know what I was doing putting them together.  They were good transactions, I just hadn’t learned enough in my growth and didn’t have the right mentors to make them work.  Hopefully, you can learn from my experiences and leverage those into successes for you.

It all started with Nelson’s Gulf, Bait, Tackle & BBQ.  I have had many experiences as an entrepreneur, many.  I can say unequivocally that no experience and no person has been more impactful than that one with my dad and his development and ownership of Nelson’s Gulf. My experiences started with my dad when I was probably 12 years old, probably even before that truth be told.  Every aspect of my business experience including my first six accounting classes from high school through intermediate accounting in college; my corporate finance career and my business ownership experiences were made clearer and easier because of Nelson’s Gulf. Interestingly, the commercial clients that I have worked with in my two financial services companies, Valley National Mortgage Company, LLC, (my current company) and  JustMyMortgage.com have common themes.  I won’t identify my client companies, not even if they give me permission; however,  I will give some broader themes that I have learned or observed from them, one of which is the lack of fear of negative consequences.  

Is entrepreneurship nature or nurture? I don’t know but for me, it’s a little of both. My intent with the blog/book is to show both and recount some lessons learned and some unforgettable experiences that you can learn from.  Entrepreneurship is not for everyone but no one should be afraid to try.  Understanding and navigating the risks helps to appreciate entrepreneaurship and hopefully, my experience will help you to succeed.

Regardless of the venture, there are always risks.  The reward or measure of success will differ for each entrepreneur.  For some, the reward is financial, the more money the better. For others, the reward might be the spiritual uplifting of others.  I’ll explain that one in one of the chapters of the book.

Navigating Aspects of a Deal

I’m purposely writing the blog and book in kind of a disjointed fashion.  This is not a biography per se so don’t look for a from beginning to end narrative.  I’m going to jump from deal to deal, from experience to experience, including some non-deal specific matters, like managing your emotions, the impact of family on decisions, and the importance of mentors.  With all of the moving parts, I’m going to weave in aspects of the deal I’m currently working, the acquisition of convenience store assets and creating a petroleum products distribution company, a second one.  You’ll have to read Aspects of the Deal or keep up with the blog to appreciate that reference.  I’ll try to help you identify the current deal so you can knit those chapters together.

It’s difficult to ignore race when it rears it’s head, particularly when it impacts a deal, and it’s fair to put that out there when it’s positive or negative.  One could argue that race always impacts deals, maybe.  What I know with certainty is that race has played a factor in my entrepreneurial endeavors and probably an even a bigger factor in my corporate experiences. In Aspects of a Deal I won’t shy away from discussing race.  If I did, this would be a disingenuous book and beyond anything, I want for you to appreciate all the ‘aspects’ of my experiences as an entrepreneur.

Finally, to my son’s Marcus and Andrew, you guys have seen the ups and downs of many of the businesses I have started.  The peaks and valleys are part of the process for many entrepreneurs. Don’t let the valleys discourage you. If you choose to pursue life as an entrepreneur or in other words, become self-employed, start early, ask questions, make some mistakes, find a mentor, and by all means, believe in yourself.  For almost half of my career, I have been self-employed. Some of it by choice, sometimes out of necessity. It’s been more than interesting. Always, know that I’ll be supportive of you and I’ll be honest with you; it would be hypocritical of me to not be.

Enjoy the read.