The entrepreneurial spirit was awakened in me by my grandfather. I asked for money to the movies at about eight or nine years old. He told me that he was giving me movie money for the last time, and I would have to earn it from then on.
He told of me of all the opportunities in front of me of which I was not taking advantage, and he bought me a little red lawn mower and a gas can. This mower was a workhorse, and he knew it.
I could mow through bushes and across small brush including mowing lawns. My grandfather even set up my first customers, so I could start off understanding the values of caring for a client properly. He told me that these people were his friends and not to embarrass him.
One day I was on my way to my set of lawns for the day, and a friend of mine pulled up in a giant new enclosed-cab tractor. This thing had air conditioning and a stereo, and this was in a time when most farm tractors were open air hot contraptions. As I sweated in the Texas July sun, he opened the door, and I could feel the cold air. Learn more about Marc Sparks: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Sparks
He asked me where was I going with that little lawn mower. I made up my mind not to be intimidated, especially by someone who is normally as timid as was my friend.
I bet him right at that moment that I would be in the cold theater that night with the biggest popcorn and the biggest drink. We bet that if he could not do the same with his earnings that he would owe me the cost of my night at the movies.
Needless to say, I won the bet with my little lawn mower, and two fine entrepreneurs were born because we never stopped being friends or trying to best each other in business. When he passed recently, I begin studying ways to honor his legacy.
This is when I discovered how Texas entrepreneur Marc Sparks gave back. It was better than memorials and scholarship funds, it was in sharing my friend’s and my entrepreneurial knowledge with people that have the same will and determination as we had, but without the guidance.
Now the stories of my friends and I business endeavors are immortalized especially when one the young entrepreneurs that we mentor excels. Thanks, Marc for teaching me the best way to give back.