How I Went From a Cellblock to a Penthouse

3 Reasons Former Inmates Make Great Entrepreneurs

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I will never forget that night. My girlfriend had broken up with me and I was in the wrong place. My best friend thought it would be a good idea to send a prostitute to my apartment for entertainment.

When she arrived, she knew that I was a drug dealer. She asked me, “So, are you having a hit?” and it started from there: my personal journey from a cell block to a penthouse – proving that with hard work and determination, you will get what you work for.

Related: How prison became my launching pad for success

Of course, I had no idea of ​​the dark days ahead as I burst the white powder for the whore and myself that night. The truth is that I have never had coke before. I sold it for a while but I never tried it. I was addicted to weeds and knew that coke would be a bad idea. That night however, heartbroken and all, I let my decision-making skills miss me.

She leaned over, took my $ 100 bill, and sniffed. I had watched hundreds of others do the same. And even if I hadn’t done it myself, I knew what to do. I sniffed the whole line in my right nostril as she grabbed my hand and escorted me to the bedroom. “Undress, let’s do this,” she said. But as I was about to unbuckle my belt, I felt my heart beat strong – like very strong.

I don’t remember a single thing that happened after that, until I woke up the next day in the hospital, chained to bed with handcuffs.

Apparently, I had a seizure, I died and I was shocked by the first responders. While I was shaking on the floor, the prostitute rushed into the other room and called 911.

I was in my hospital bed, still wondering what had happened, when a policeman came in and read my rights to me. The worst day of my life. Again. I was under arrest for the manufacture and delivery of cocaine. A first degree crime with a maximum penalty of up to 99 years. Not that I was doing something good with my life at the time, but what was left of my life was ruined.

I finally pleaded guilty and got a two-year sentence in a maximum security prison in the state of Texas. Number of federal inmate 13196-078.

I was 21 years old.

I ended up being transferred to five different federal and state prisons in 18 months, some more violent than others, each frightening. But I made a decision from the inside: I would never have problems again. So when I got out, I started again, from the bottom. I went to work in a car wash. A criminal destined to be a loser at work the rest of my life, but I was ready for anything, until I was locked up.

In the car wash, I had a client to whom I always sold washes. One day, she offered me a job for her mortgage brokerage. I knew what a unique opportunity looked like. I progressed until I owned a branch of his business, going from prison to prosperity. I helped people buy housing, I financed millions of loans from 2005 to 2010, except for those 18 months behind bars.

I went out in July 2008. In 2009, I closed 183 mortgages in Texas.

I had a flawless license and record. But Congress then passed the Dodd Frank law, which imposed new restrictions on mortgage lending. That’s how I lost my license. My past had come back to haunt me. And life was scary like hell again.

Related: 11 Mindsets Learned In Prison Made Me Mentally Unstoppable

After all, I only had two skills, selling mortgages and washing cars, and I couldn’t do the first anymore. I have failed again and again. I tried network marketing. Not good. I tried sales jobs that I hated. But then things changed: I discovered internet marketing and social media.

The year was 2010 and many business owners still believed that Facebook and social media were just fads. I knew they were wrong. I knew I could help companies increase their sales by networking online with prospects.

So I started my own marketing business and ended up managing social media pages for over 70 business owners. It was a whip. Each day I had to submit content for 70 different pages – not an easy chore. I worked my tail.

And the pace I followed was not sustainable. But after managing all of these pages and turning them into information products, I learned how to create online training programs. That way, when I made a sale, all I had to do was send a connection to the program. Customers would manage their own pages, following my methods.

My program has had moderate success. My first product saved me from having to manage so many pages and content. Although I didn’t get rich, I was making sales and I saw opportunities. I still sell this same product today. It has made me a lot of money over the years.

The same goes for the products that followed: each time I discovered a new need on the market, I only created a product and sold it. Flash forward five years: I have over 13 different products that I sell online, producing six figures each month in sales.

I built my whole business from scratch, without any skills and a crime record, to start. I have 28 sources of income and a sales staff of six. I have written two successful books and consulted for some of the largest banks in the country. I am proof that no matter how many times you get fired, you can get up even stronger if you try.

Maybe you are not in the best place in your life right now. But I was there (obviously) and I can say that with an open mind, hard work and determination, you will get what you work for. It took me almost six years to become an “overnight” success. The key is to start now. Don’t wait to make the life you want. Do it now.

Related: How My LikendisLikeial Life Shaped My Time In Prison

I myself went literally from prison to the penthouse, in the most beautiful building in Dallas, Texas. No matter what life throws at you, you can turn it around and make the most of it. I did it. You can also.

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