Over the weekend, a lot came at me at once, discussions of having to send our oldest to college next year and in addition, having to go to court to gain legal custody of our middle son, who will be 18, and will require to live with us for the remainder of our days(unless a true miracle). It was a tough weekend, non-the-less. Maybe it is balancing itself out, losing one and gaining one (trying to stay humorous). Those thoughts just seemed to amplify the feelings I have had in the back of mind for many years, of how we are going to ensure that our son, who struggles with Sensory Processing Disorder and is non-verbal, will be taken care of in the way distant future years. I could not be more blessed to know that he does have 2 of the most loving and wonderful brothers, that understand him and are always there for him and most importantly, even when it can create uncomfortable situations in public, they are proud and stand by him.
As a parent, it is the parent’s job to provide for their children, not the children’s job. Looking back on the last decade, my life has shown plenty of scars gained from trials and tribulations trying to put in place, a life that would support and provide for my son, and actually all of them. Unfortunately, these endeavors created more struggles and uncertainty of how this non-negotiable goal would fall into place. Back in 2006, when we discovered there was a lack of services in our area that would help our son, my wife took the initiative to open a non-profit that provided therapy services to help our son, and children who struggled with processing disorders, such as SPD and Autism. Keeping this vision alive was nothing short of challenging, and continues to be, and to put the required energy over the last decade, more of my wife’s time would be needed to help keep it going. I made the decision about 8 years ago to leave my job in the field of fitness sales, to step back and be more of a stay-at-home dad since we made the decision early on, that without my son’s ability to communicate, his safety is our top priority and would not expose him to situations that could risk that. So ever since he was born, he pretty much has been by our side, 24/7. Honestly, ever since our first child was born, my wife and I have never even had an evening away from our children. We knew the challenges and we never wanted to put them on another.
Over these last 5-10 years, I was fortunate to find part time work that was flexible to still help provide a much needed income to support our family, but falling behind more and more each year was something I really struggled with. I knew many years ago, that even from the time I was in high school and college, I wanted to work for myself. That entrepreneurial desire has always burned strong inside my body. During this last decade, the need to have this became more clear and more of that burning desire. I needed to be able to build something that benefited society, provided me the flexibility and the freedom to be engaged with my son, and build something to hand down to my children so they choose to accept it. My business failures from the early days are almost so unorthodox, that it is almost comical. But many years ago, when I decided I need to build a business for my family, not only lacking in the capital and assets to do so, but owing way more than even owning, my options were very limited and I knew I had to be creative. But more importantly, as I prayed, meditated, focused on, wrote about, dreamed about and so on, they had to meet my defined criteria:
- It must allow me flexibility to still be the support system for my son. A business that would allow me to run the business, but also the freedom to work during non traditional business hours and still be a dad.
- It must allow for the ability to provide a work environment that I could help teach my son certain skills that would allow for him to be productive and develop certain skills in life.
- It must be a business that my 2 other children would have the opportunity to take over so that my middle son could continue to have a working environment and be a productive member of society.
So looking back, I would probably think that my family and friends would define me as bipolar, manic, or unfocused as I would be ignited with this inspiration to start a business from my home, with minimal capital, and for several months I would go as hard as I could, but I would typically find that as I got further down that path, I would analyze the business, and compare it to my 3 criteria above, and find that not only was I spending more than I was making, it didn’t fit the criteria. Of course, I never spoke of my criteria to those around, since it really wasn’t anyone’s business but my own, so it is not doubt, from an outside perspective, I was all over the place. From trying to be an online personal trainer, to receiving my Master’s Degree to help with rehabilitative exercise, to trying to start my own garage-based facility, to designed compression gear, and corrective exercise attire, to organic plant-based drink mixes, to even now writing a book on my lifestyle changes referred to as Vegaleo, I have a long list of start ups an stops, with the exception of Vegaleo(it’s a book, can’t undo that!). Some were definitely more successful than others, but in most cases, I would be faced with either not fitting into the criteria, or reaching a point that would require a substantial amount of capital that I was not willing to reach out to family who had been there for me in the past. But deep down, it is still that business plan that I wrote in college, and even though the mission has definitely changed, helping people with their fitness goals is why, from a career perspective, fitness is my passion! So with my updated business plan in hand, I am now throwing my mercy on the court of society, hoping that my message creates hope. So for the hope of the future of my son, I am here hoping to raise the money to open my vision of a fitness center, that encompasses the guidelines that have changed my health and fitness outlook and body, and focuses on the niche of society like me, who are middle age, busy with life and work, and know that the time dedicated towards their health and fitness has to provide the most results for the time invested. And that is exactly what this is. And as I have gone over and over and over my business plan, it meets all of my criteria for a business I can focus on and grow, and also be able to teach my son certain job skills to allow him to grow and develop, as he does more each day.
Many people, I am sure, will suggest a crowd-funding page, and I would be quick to do so, but unfortunately the concept of this fitness center isn’t something that I can stake claim to, and given the amount of time and effort I have devoted to this business model, I would like to bring it to market, since I am doing this for my son. Posting my business model online would only allow others with the capital to duplicate and prevent my passion from becoming a reality. I really don’t know what will come about from this, but I do know that there is still good in this world. Even with the popularity of the crowdfunding, I have always kind of viewed it more in a negative light, since all these years, I have held the belief that I have to be the one to get this done. “if it is meant to be, it is up to me,” mentality. But I will admit, after this weekend and our discussions about the future path of my son, it hit me harder than a ton of bricks. I need to implement this now! This truly is a non-negotiable goal. I must and will, create a path for son to allow his life to be the most productive, conducive and loving as possible.
If you would like to make a donation, words wouldn’t even be able to describe my appreciation. I will look at this as society coming together to help a child who is loving, caring and just needs a little more help, and I am his guide. I can’t help but think about people who used emotional stories of health to get money donated, then turned around and used for their personal gain. To show my open book, I have set up the Paypal, and at any point, if anyone requests to view the transactions, I will furnish. There will be zero deductions unless it is used for the sole purpose of my business plan. If anyone donates and at a future time, feels that money is better somewhere else, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will return the donation(minus any deductions that Paypal may take). Also, anyone who donates, will have a free pass to exercise a day at the facility when it opens up, if you happen to be in my area. And when this day happens (and it will), I will be letting everyone know how grateful I am.
Thank you for allowing me to tell my story.