Fear to invest in his business idea almost led Zimmerman’s family to starvation

Fear to invest in his business idea almost led Zimmerman’s family to starvation

SETH ZIMMERMAN WAS WORKING NIGHTS AS A NURSE TO SUPPORT HIS WIFE AND THEIR THREE KIDS, BUT HE WAS CONTINUALLY FALLING BEHIND ON HIS MORTGAGE.

Truth be told, Zimmerman wasn’t just in the rat race, he was losing. Just like the rest of middle class America, he always tried to work a bit extra to put food on the table and to pay the bills. But there wasn't enough to go around.

For years the wife fed the family on watery chicken bouillon soup that had no chicken, noodles, or vegetables in it and in the winters the kids would gather around the stove to keep warm because there was no money for heating.

When Zimmerman ever did manage a little extra money an unexpected expense would come up and devour it, be that a surgery to repair a torn ACL or the hood of their black station wagon bursting into flames.

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THE POINT IS ZIMMERMAN HAD A JOB TO PAY BILLS BUT NO WAY TO GROW WEALTH, SO HE AND HIS FAMILY CONTINUALLY SUFFERED

Zimmerman was always in debt and the debt was always slowly increasing. The home was not a happy one because it was filled with the fear of drowning in debt, the fear that the family would go hungry--which they already were, the paralyzing thoughts of what they would do when the kids were old enough to go to college because they had no savings for it.

The worst part was Zimmerman always had a way out, but always blamed other people. There were multiple times that businesses nearly landed in his lap; he had the idea, the people, the resources--but one thing always kept Zimmerman back from acting on his initiative and digging his way with his own hands out of the rat race. And that was fear.

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Instead of taking control of his destiny and expenses, Zimmerman began blaming other people for his failures; the government because taxes were too high, his nursing job because they refused to give him overtime hours and the pay was too low; the wealthy 1% because they hoarded all the wealth and meanwhile he and his family were suffering.

THE POINT: ZIMMERMAN CONTINUALLY THREW AWAY OPPORTUNITIES BY REFUSING TO INVEST IN HIS BUSINESS IDEA

And so Zimmerman’s family was always suffering. One time a very good opportunity came up for Zimmerman to run his own landscaping company. Zimmerman was a personal nurse working for a millionaire paying him a moderate wage in return for personal nursing care and him running his grounds.

The thing is, Zimmerman was getting very good at running the property. He did not speak Spanish but he spoke enough to order the maintenance around and he invested a lot of time in reading and learning about plants and maintenance and everything needed to optimally run the beautiful, exquisitely-landscaped 40 acre estate that he found himself in charge of.

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Then the opportunity came. Zimmerman’s boss was moving across country and would not pay for his family’s relocation; Zimmerman was already in over his head in mortgage backpayments and could simply not move.

He was left jobless and with 2 alternatives; return to his nursing job or create a maintenance business with the crew he was already running, the clients they had gotten to know over the past 3 years, and much of the equipment to get the job done.

AS WITH ANY BUSINESS VENTURE THERE WERE RISKS AS WELL AS SEVERAL FACTORS LEANING IN THE BUSINESS’S FAVOR.

There were key factors in the startup landscaping business's favor. 1: His maintenance crew loved him, they trusted him, he fought for their wage increases, he made sure they worked good hours, he gave them each a turkey on Thanksgiving, that sort of thing. 2: He had a reputation in Richmond, Virginia. The upper-middle class knew about the estate and admired the grounds. He had plenty of clients ready to enlist his services and so plenty of work.

The risks facing Zimmerman’s startup business included 1: He would need to invest money to purchase a maintenance trailer to bring the supplies around from house to house. 2: Much of the equipment, the mowers, the blowers, the rakes, the pruners, would all have to be purchased from scratch, because they were the property of the estate.

Zimmerman was afraid of starting a business and relying on his own income as opposed to relying on a paycheck. He was afraid he would invest what little money the family had in the business and it would fail, that he would lose the house, that he would lose his car, that his wife would divorce him, that his family would starve…

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And so what did Zimmerman do: Because he was afraid of making an investment, he did nothing. He returned to his nursing job at the hospital. The maintenance crews went their own ways. The landed people who admired his work, in time, forgot about him.

THE POINT: IF YOU REFUSE TO INVEST IN YOUR BUSINESS IDEA AND TAKE A RISK NOTHING WILL HAPPEN

I have not chosen Zimmerman’s story because he turned out to be a Cinderella story from rags to riches...

Zimmerman’s story because it points out the vicious cycle of failure that the middle class finds itself in. The number one factor preventing success is the fear of investing in their business ideas, because fear leads to procrastination and procrastination leaves them in their dead-end jobs, and their dead-end jobs lead them into increasing debt.

On the other hand, if you’ll stay with me to the end of Part II of Zimmerman’s Story, you’ll find out how he does eventually escape the rat race.

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