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Hanging open sign in the shop

My parents split.

 

This happened at a much more convenient time for me than my sister. She was only 15, and I had just moved out of my parents home and would never return.  At 18, I had just signed a baseball scholarship at a local university and knew that I was now a man and totally on my own.

 

My computer repair knowledge only grew.  I decided to create a business. First, I needed more customers than just friends and family. I visited every single computer repair shop in the metro area and landed a small contract with a local computer repair store. The owner was an Iranian man that taught me a lot about business and the other side of the world.  He, his family, and the majority of his county loved America.  This is much different that the sentiment in the Arab countries, where the U.S. is not a well-liked country by the majority (Iranians are Persian, not Arabic).  The government of Iran does not favor the U.S., but this is not representative of the views of the people.

 

Through the few business contacts I had, I saw an opportunity to lease a retail store near the University of Memphis.  The deposit, first month’s rent, some tools for repairs, and a few laptops for sale took every dime I had. For the first three months I had the store, I slept on a mattress in the back room.  I showered at friends houses or the YMCA next door.  I avoided many of my friends just so they wouldn’t know I was technically homeless.  I just couldn’t afford two rents.

 

I remember waking up to a cockroach on my face. I slept with a can of Raid next to my mattress on the ground.  The conditions were unfit to live in. On the other side of my “bed” was an old shotgun my aunt let me have.  We weren’t too far from the Orange Mound area of Memphis, home of the notorious rap group Three Six Mafia. The area by the university is fairly rough and this shotgun ended up saving my life from a threat only months later from a disgruntled homeless man that threatened me with a gun in my store.  I had just let my alarm expire due to my inability to pay the bill.

My priorities were rent, utilities, 1 employee salary, food, and personal hygiene products. In that order.

 

It was the perfect location and a strong market.  The students didn’t have a whole lot of cash for a new computer so they had to fix the one they had.  This was to my advantage.  This is how it began and how my success started.