It’s Not the Circumstances, but How You Respond That Matters.
Hello, this is Tony! And this is my story.
Working hard and turning your “rags into riches” has always been part of the American Dream. This was exactly my dream as well. From humble beginnings, I strived to progress through the ranks of highly competitive businesses around me to be an award-winning entrepreneur. Here’s how I did it.
Born into an enterprising family on the Jersey Shore, it was always in my blood to be an entrepreneur. My father worked a variety of jobs to support my family. Besides working as a milkman, a cop, and a construction worker, he also owned rental houses. My mother ran a macrame pottery shop, and they both knew they had to work hard during the summer to make up for the slack during the winter months.
My siblings and I made significant contributions because we inherited our parents’ work ethic. And while we had a large, friendly, and loving Italian family, my parents still ran a tight ship.
I have always wanted to start my own business ever since I was a kid, and I got to it at the age of eight. My venture began when I went down to the wholesale candy store and bought a large quantity of bubble gum and candy bars. After this, I went down to the beach, set up a table, and sold them as people were leaving. Besides this, I also started helping my mother sell Mexican pots at her shop. The whole experience of wearing a sombrero, speaking with consumers, and closing sales is one I thoroughly relished and I was completely enthralled by it. It didn’t feel like work to me, even at such a young age.
That was the first of many thrilling experiences in store for me. I felt significant and knew I was contributing to my family’s well-being. This even motivated me to take on a lot of monotonous chores, like cleaning garbage cans and toilets, which was undoubtedly unpleasant but necessary. My love for my family and for entrepreneurship kept me going the whole time.
My second business attempt was selling fruits and vegetables in hotel parking lots from the back of a truck. In fact, the list of commercial projects I explored is pretty long. I did things like pump gas, change oil, and make pizzas. I couldn’t get my mind off of starting enterprises and saw chances everywhere.
When I was fifteen, I made my first pizza. I was working at a gas station at the time. My manager came in and told me that this was the day I would learn how to bake pizza. The manager also had a pizzeria, and his pizza chef had recently resigned. That day changed my life forever, and I knew that I’d make it.
I’d always wanted to open my own restaurant. It was logical and combined all of my favorite things—family, cuisine, and travel. I kept working in restaurants, relocated to Manhattan for a bit, went to college, and eventually, when I was ready, opened my own pizzeria.
I did some research and chose to open my business in Virginia Beach. And the years that followed were nothing short of a roller coaster journey.
It took a great deal of effort to run this business. For years, I’d put in over a hundred hours every week in my business. I wasn’t even able to attend the birth of my first child. I pushed myself to the limit, and it impacted every aspect of my life. While I wanted to continue growing, I soon discovered that there had to be some changes and compromises. The biggest problem was that I lacked a mentor. I needed someone to mentor and educate me on how to advertise, delegate, train, or scale my company. In short, I had to figure out everything on my own.
Consequentially, I experienced a lot of losses and failures in my life, which I’ve mentioned in detail in my book. To be honest, each one of them has made me stronger and smarter and I have no regrets. They improved me and taught me lessons that I can now pass on to others. Today, I have started over 31 businesses and employ over 450 people.