I am "THE" Conman turned Consultant. (I emphasize "THE" not because I'm well known for this, but rather because I doubt there are any others. I'm fairly close with most of my clients and they all know it's just not something I put in the yellow page ad, and at least you know I'm not writing a pitch.) But it's true, I was raised by a true honest-to-god con artist. Now I'm not one to condone it, but if you've ever seen a long-con play out(one that adheres to the honor-principles)you can easily understand why they're referred to as artists. My father was no exception, when he was teaching me the trade (it's an inherited position that kids start learning around age 5) he talked about Charles Ponzi and how he sat calmly when 1st exposed and paid all who asked and refused the first few that tried to put their money back - Or Victor Lustig who only convinced the contractor who bought the Eiffel tower that he was a real govt official by demanding a bribe - the devil's in the details, he'd finish. So anyways as I grew up I naturally followed the path he laid, and why not i was good at it, besides in the early nineties with the gang wars and rampant marijuana use our laws seemed more like guidelines or suggestions. But the same thing happened that always happens; boy meets girl, girl hates boy, boy changes, girl still hates boy, and then the boy meets a different girl - isn't that how it works?
So my first legit job was working as a janitor for multiple little businesses - and wouldn't you know it turned out to be a SCAM - dead serious this guy (my boss) would hire kids in their late teens early twenties, work 'em for a while then stop paying and see how long he could keep 'em working on promises. I know a match made in heaven right? Well I chose to get even by starting a competing janitorial company and stealing his accounts, i used my Mother's vacuum cleaner and Windex and got "survival money" by tracking down his ex-employees and explaining what I was doing - talk about your eager investors. Well a month later I went from making $6 hr to $20 hr and another entrepreneur was born - but after a year of NO SICK DAYS I gave it up and went to find a real job again.
This job search landed me at a carpet cleaning company where I met my mentor who promised me $6.50hr and an education in business in-exchange for nothing more than good old-fashion hard-work, we both held-up our end, but I'll admit the hard-work part was just as valuable a lesson as the rest. I worked my way up and eventually into management we added additional segments, i restructured the schedule and pay scale and together grew the company by leaps and bounds, in fact the only problem we seemed to have is that our employees kept leaving to start their own companies in different industries. After my boss realized that i had been advising them on how to start their own businesses and make em work - he not-so pleasantly suggested i try a career in consulting - and I did. I worked a series of demeaning jobs my first year so i could perform consulting services for free in the hopes of generating referrals and word-of-mouth and here we are 10 years later and 10 years wiser.
You know I credit a lot of my skills as a consultant to the years i spent at that carpet cleaning company. But I honestly think what makes my service better than the rest is my time as a conman. A friend and client once said watching me approach a business model was like watching Daniel Ocean on Wall Street. I don't know what to attribute it to, but I'll tell you this, there's not a lot of difference between a long con and a business launch, except for the end i suppose.