A person desperately looking for an answer other than, “Work… a lot and very hard,” could probably tell you all the “habits” that help make someone a successful entrepreneur. It’s likely they’ve read dozens of iterations of books and articles that claim to list the “X Habits That Every Millionaire Ever Does.” Eat carrots at every meal, sleep for exactly 6.5 hours, read 40 books a month, don’t go out drinking Tuesday through Sunday, blah blah blah, you get the idea.
But that person and whatever clickbait they’re reading don’t know jack. You want to know how and why someone succeeded? Ask their moms.
That’s what we did. Because what advertising agency doesn’t want to understand their clients?
So we hit up the mothers of some of our biggest and most successful clients or, at least, the mothers who were willing to talk to degenerates like us, and we asked them how their daughters and sons got so freakin’ successful.
1. What was the first clue you had as a parent that your kiddo was headed the business owner/leadership route?
Judy Kring, mother of Kaleb Brewer, Phoenix Construction Founder and CEO
Well, after Kaleb lost his first tooth and the tooth fairy brought him $5, I found him in the utility room trying to knock out another one for another 5 bucks. And, when he was 5, his nanny offered to pay him $20 for each soccer goal he made…I think she ended up paying him about $300 or $400 bucks that season. She followed that up by offering $50 for homeruns in t-ball, because what 5 year old can hit homerun off of a T…right? Well, he became a hometown legend, and she nearly went broke. So, even from a very young age, if you gave Kaleb a challenge, he would rise to it…especially if it meant he could make a buck.
Sharon Cohen, mother of Mark Cohen, Ntelicor Founder and CEO
I recall when Mark was in high school, I was meeting some friends for lunch at a local restaurant. When I arrived I was surprised to see Mark and a friend very hard at work on the restaurant’s lawn….I knew he was mowing lawns to earn money over the summer, however, I thought he was mowing a few neighborhood lawns. I had no idea of the scope of the customers he had recruited, residential and commercial. He had so many customers he worked six, sometimes seven, days a week from sunrise until dark. During the hottest Oklahoma summer on record, Mark worked road construction because it paid $2.00 more per hour than his other job.
Lydia Boto, mother of Aaron Boto, OnePointe Solutions Founder and CEO
Aaron was always a leader, especially in their neighborhood growing up. He would always get everyone together.”
2. Most business owners are a stubborn bunch. True of yours or not?
Angela Chappell, mother of Chris Chappell, Founder and CEO of HydroPros
Chris is probably the most stubborn child I have ever met, but that’s what makes him so successful. I learned early on that if I told him to do something, he would do it his own way whether I liked it or not. He always got the task done one way or another and I learned to just let him do his own thing.
Kaleb was/is as stubborn as they come, so I learned early on to pick my battles with him. One story comes to mind, this happened when he was three years old. He was outside playing and I asked him to come in. He didn’t come, so on about the third request, this mommy was about to lose her cool and I said, “Kaleb Lee Brewer, I said to get in this house, and when I say get in this house, I mean GET IN THIS HOUSE, now get in here!” to which he replied with the most drawn out 3 year old southern drawl you have ever heard (yes, he used to have one of those): “Mommy, I said I don’t want to, and when I say I don’t want to, I DON’T WANT TO, and I don’t want to.” Very hard to punish that logic…especially while trying to stifle my laughter!
3. Any childhood memories of them being born risk-takers?
Even as a child, Kaleb was a calculated risk taker…a little too smart for his own good. I would more appropriately have refered to him as a bold, impetuous, and fearless leader more than a risk taker…as a kid and as an adult.
Chris is a determined person making himself a risk-taker, for example, continuing to play football even after several injuries and surgeries.
Ann Kenney, mother of Napa Flats co-founder and co-owner Tom Kenney
Amazing how he went from playing every sport he could find to bussing at the local dinner theatre. Guess restaurants offer more opportunities than liberal arts degrees
4. Anything they should brag about but they don’t?
Chris has accomplished many things that he would never brag about, from taking care of his family to playing football at Auburn while being a pre-med student, to being a top provider in emergency rooms, to now owning his own successful business.
Helping any person he can without acknowledgement, formally and informally. For example, while he was studying law at Harvard, Mark always had jobs tending bar around campus or working renovation-construction in downtown Boston. He earned enough extra money to pay for a lot of expensive dental work that an underprivileged boy who was Mark’s “little brother” in Big Brothers needed but whose single mom could not afford.
His success in general. That he’s willing to take risks. (And that they always seem to work out!)
5. What makes you most proud of them?
He faces challenges in situations he isn’t used to head on and always makes his way out.
I am extremely proud of Chris for being able to overcome adversity as a child and for becoming who he is today, an intelligent and ambitious man, an inspiring leader, and an amazing father and husband.
Mark is honorable, honest, says what he means, and is a patriot who loves the Constitution and this country.
He is brilliant, bold, good and kind! I have heard more than once that when Kaleb Brewer is in the room, it doesn’t matter who else is in the room, he’s the smartest one in the room. I happen to agree.
He makes friends with just about everyone he meets.